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SUNY Canton assisting Helping Hands with car share program


CANTON - A partnership between Helping Hands and SUNY Canton provides used, reconditioned vehicles for working families and hands-on learning opportunities for students in SUNY Canton’s Automotive Technology program.

Through the Car Share Program sponsored by Helping Hands of Potsdam, individuals can donate used cars, which are repaired by SUNY Canton students to ensure they are safe and in good, working condition.

“Our goal is to provide working individuals and families with cars at no cost,” said Tom Chappell, director of Helping Hands.

“In order to be eligible to reduce a car, potential recipients must be employed and need a car to get to work. There are many people who walk or ride a bicycle, or even take a cab, to get to work who would benefit from this program. “

Donated cars are taken to SUNY Canton, where they are assessed by students in the Automotive Technology program. Once the students determine what repairs or parts are needed, they replace the parts and make the adjustments as part of their classroom learning. Depending on the extent of the work needed, it can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to fully repair the vehicle.

Once a car has been reconditioned and is ready to drive it is turned over to the recipient.

For SUNY Canton Automotive Technology Assistant Professor Brandon J. Baldwin, the learning experience for the students extends beyond the work that goes on under the hood.

“Working on Helping Hands vehicles, knowing that they are going to a person in need, not only teaches a student how to diagnose and fix real world automotive problems, but teaches them about the importance of community outreach as well.”

For more information about donating to or receiving a vehicle though the Car Share Program, please contact the Helping Hands office at 268-0633.

Helping Hands provides compassionate assistance for those in emergency situations, including help with food, heat, utilities and furniture. The nonprofit agency also provides financial assistance with medical, dental and prescription costs as well as assistance with car repairs and donated used cars to working families through the Car Share Program.

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