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For automotive enthusiasts, there are multiple things to love about cars. Whether it’s the freedom that cars provide, the different designs of each model, or various capabilities, cars create a sense of passion for many people. A woman turned this passion for cars into a noble endeavor by hosting car shows that fundraise for children and other charitable causes.

Mel’s Car Shows: Turns passion for cars into helping charitable causes

Melanie Henry, founder of Mel's Cars Shows, standing next to 1959 El Camino
Melanie Henry and her father’s 1959 El Camino | WTAJ News via YouTube

Melanie Henry, from Pennsylvania, has a lifelong passion for cars. As reported by WTAJ News, “Before Henry could even drive, she knew all about cars by attending shows with her father. She saw how they have a way of bringing people together.”

In 2011, Henry was the Clearfield County Fair Queen and “was asked to host a fundraising event.” She then tapped into her love of cars and hosted a car show. This was when Henry founded Mel’s Car Shows, with her first show called “Queens for a Cause.”

As detailed on the Mel’s Car Shows website, “Mel was given the opportunity to hold a fundraiser. With her love of cars from her dad and love of volunteering from her mom; holding a car show was her first thought. ‘Fun for the Whole Family’ is her slogan and her goal. Since then, she’s been using her passion to help communities and organizations in need.”

Henry stated, “Our goal was to have a very family-friendly event. We wanted something that not just the car guys would want, but we wanted their wives to come, we wanted their kids to come.”

Mel’s Car Shows raised over $125K for local charities

The “Queens for a Cause” fundraising event was a big success. The event raised money for the Children’s Miracle Network and other local charities. Following the success of the event, Houtzdale Days, an annual community festival, reached out to Henry, and “things continued to take off.”

Henry continued, “The Madera Fire Company reached out and asked, ‘Would you be willing to hold a car show for us?’ It has just snowballed from there. Now we have shows in Glenn Hope, Hastings, and new this year, we have one in Huntingdon.”

During the past 10 years, Henry hosted 30 car shows. She estimates that Mel’s Car Shows helped raise at least $125,000 for local charities. In addition to the Children’s Miracle Network, other organizations that benefited from the car shows include Easter for Eli and Jameson’s Wish.

“To see what they are able to do with the funds that we raise for them is truly remarkable. The amount of people that they help through me being able to help them is truly wonderful. At the end of the day, it just hits me that all of those people were there to have a good time with their cars, but also they are committing to this cause as well.”

– Melanie Henry, founder of Mel’s Car Shows

Henry’s passion for cars started with her father and his 1959 El Camino

Melanie Henry's father sitting in the bed of a 1959 El Camino
Melanie Henry’s father and his 1959 El Camino | WTAJ News via YouTube

The genesis for Henry’s passion for cars is her father and his 1959 El Camino, which is “like a family heirloom.” Her father “pulled the car out of a field in the 1970s and restored it to what it is today.” Henry said, “If it was in the garage watching him work on cars or if it was tagging along with him to a car show or cruise-in, I got my love of cars from my dad.”

Henry’s love of cars started with her father and his 1959 El Camino — and has since grown into something much bigger. A childhood curiosity grew into a lifelong passion for cars with a noble endeavor.


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