Residents of New Hampshire’s Upper Valley who strain to juggle the costs of food, rent, childcare and car repairs are often forced to make difficult money decisions. A new program from Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society is helping them stretch their dollars and maintain reliable transportation.
With LISTEN Community Services acting as the go-between for those in need, the mechanics at the Co-op’s Hanover and Norwich auto service centers perform a variety of work and provide certain parts at little or no cost. “Concern for community is a phrase that means a lot to us,” said Hanover Co-op General Manager Ed Fox. “Employees around our co-op have a knack for spotting problems they can push back against or lend a helping hand on. This Car Connections idea came from our service center manager Jimmy Kidder and his teams. Using their professional skills to help low-income folks with car repairs is an ideal fit.”
LISTEN Executive Director Kyle Fisher said that the auto vouchers is another way that organization can address emergent needs of its clients. “Because we’re in close contact with people working hard to make ends meet, we often learn which basic necessities or vehicle problems may need extra attention. We are so grateful to the co-op for donating this kind of support in the Upper Valley.”
Angie Zhang, who will continue to oversee the new program, expects it to have profound impact. “For car owners, the timing of expenses related to car repair are often out of their control,” she said. “Safe and reliable transportation is a primary link for someone being able to go to work and care for their families. This makes an incredible difference in their lives.”
“Safe and reliable transportation is a primary link for someone being able to go to work and care for their families. This makes an incredible difference in their lives.” – Angie Zhang
For Hanover Co-op auto technician Wesley Ulman and his fellow mechanics, the program is meaningful to them, too. “When you can use your skills and tools to make a difference is someone’s life, it’s bound to be a great day for everyone involved,” he said.
The Hanover Co-op has funded the establishment of this Car Connections program and encourages those interested to make direct contributions to LISTEN’s general operating fund at www.listencs.org as the best way to assist with this effort and all LISTEN programs.