MAHUBE-OTWA Expands Car Repair Program


Many a Minnesotan has experienced the frustration of hearing only the silence of a dead battery when turning a key to start a vehicle in the brutal cold. If small children have already been strapped into their seatbelts or time is tight to get to work or an appointment, the frustration can turn to panic.

In an urban area there might be someone with jumper cables within shouting distance, but in rural areas and small towns help might be further away.

In 2021, funded with private resources, MAHUBE-OTWA Community Action piloted a winter car prep program for families working on employment goals and enrolled in Head Start. 30 program participants brought their cars in to partnering garages and received new tires, batteries, wipers, and lights if needed.

The partnering garage also did a safety check and educated the parents on routine maintenance and upcoming big ticket items to prepare for. The average cost per vehicle was $700 and none of the participants lost work due to transportation issues. No participants needed to use their tax return to buy a used vehicle to replace one that conked out on them.

MAHUBE-OTWA was awarded a new $100,000 Getting to Work grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to expand their seasonal car prep program. The funds will support 60 families over the next 18 months in getting to work.

With funding from DEED, this program will be expanded to serve more clients and to include a summer oil change and fluid level check. In addition to the work the mechanics do, MAHUBE-OTWA family coaches also ensure the drivers are ensured and licensed or support them to meet those goals if they are not. Parents learn to protect a valuable asset, families are kept safe on the road, and everyone can make it to school, work, or child care on time. Helping People, Changing Lives!

MAHUBE-OTWA overview video