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New program gives Louisa residents free car repairs and students more experience

Posted at 8:25 AM, Sep 15, 2022

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. -- As inflation continues to impact American families , one of the biggest hits is going to car repairs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that motor vehicle parts and equipment rose 14.9% in just the last year alone.

For some, that means having to put off car repairs or turn to public transportation to get to work and school. But for others who live in rural parts of Virginia, lack of public transportation is making the trip even more difficult.

That's why Louisa County has launched a new program called "Wheels for Work" to help repair residents' cars without the hefty price tag that many can’t afford.

"The inflation is absolutely crushing many of our families," explained Louisa County Resource Council executive director Lloyd Runnett. "Because of the gas prices, the food prices, it's just really, really putting pressure on them that is creating a lot of issues in their family."

Runnett said the council helps hundreds of residents make ends meet, and a recent study showed several of the people they help have car issues.

With the help of the career and technical education students at Louisa County High School, as well as some local repair and parts shops, the council is now able to grant five people a month a $500 voucher. The council pays for the car parts, and the students handle the repairs.

"They get the experience of working on the cars, but they also get the experience helping their community while they're learning a new career," said Runnett.

"It goes to show like, you're helping out someone who really needs it," noted LCHS senior Nick Riley. "You're helping out your own community. So I mean, it feels good."

The resource council said they’ve already received dozens of applications from residents hoping to benefit from the new program, and you must already be receiving help from the council to qualify.

They are also taking donations, so they can hopefully help more than five families a month.