Why offer tax assistance?

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The Willow Creek Care Center Volunteer Income Tax Preparation (VITA) Program was introduced in 2012 to meet a real need of Care Center guests and Willow attenders. The program uses trained volunteers to prepare the income taxes of those whose household income is $51,000 or less.

Leslie was one Willow attender who utilized the free tax preparation services (VITA) offered by the Finance Team, in 2013.
“My family and I are so grateful…We were so blessed by this ministry! The benefits we obtained last year were spiritual, emotional, and financial.

 From making our appointment to the final submission of our taxes, we were accompanied by certified professionals and highly trained volunteers, who guided us clearly in every step. Every person we talked with provided support and treated us with compassion, respect, and good-will.

In addition to all of this, the services we received were at no cost. The Finance Team did not charge for the services they provided, which helped our family budget, and they helped us get a refund from the IRS after we submitted our taxes.”  –Leslie

This year the Finance Services Team will be offering the program again. This doesn’t happen, however, without fantastic volunteers.

With a variety of volunteer roles, there is a way for everyone to serve.  Volunteers will greet guests, schedule appointments, help with administrative tasks, and prepare tax returns.  Bilingual (English/Spanish) volunteers are needed in all volunteer roles.  Training will be provided for all positions and those who serve as tax preparers will go through an IRS certification process prior to serving.  You don’t need to be an accountant or CPA to qualify.

If you can do your own tax return, you can prepare a tax return for those who qualify for the program.  To learn more, contact the Financial Services Program Manager, Thelma Talamantes.

Josie Guth Explains Changes Coming to the Care Center

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Dear Compassion and Justice Core,

Since our move to campus, we have had an amazing run, experiencing great joys and challenges. Our greatest challenge has been that the demand for the Care Center’s services is greater than our ability to meet them within our current hours of operation. For the last couple of months, as a staff team, we have been thinking through how we might focus our services to better serve and develop relationships with our guests, honor our volunteers, and fulfill the second part of our mission statement “so that lives are transformed and Jesus is known.” In order to accomplish all of this, our first step was to implement a cut-off when we reached our capacity. While this has worked very well in terms of honoring our volunteers and having the ability to go deeper with guests, it has been very difficult to turn people away when we need to close our doors.

With that in mind, we have been continuing to work toward a better solution. Before you continue reading, I want you to know we have felt God’s presence guiding and instructing us in this decision. We have full support from the Executive Team and Elders. We move forward prayerfully as we desire to implement this plan in a manner consistent with His will.

Taking into account our mission statement and the compelling data we have about where the highest percentage of our guests live, we have arrived at an overall strategy that allows us to serve guests who are most likely to engage in our church, which allows us to serve them in a holistic and empowering way. We believe this approach will help prevent us from needing to turn people away from the Care Center, particularly our members and those in the church’s footprint. This focus will allow us to spend our energy on those in our footprint and at the same time honor our strategy to partner with our regional churches.

Whom will we serve?

  • Members and involved Willow attenders, regardless of where they live and which regional location they attend
  • Individuals who live in the footprint of our South Barrington campus, which includes the communities identified on the map below
  • Vulnerable people (for example, orphans, widows, elderly disabled, veterans, Safe Family parents, homeless) who are referred from our current or future local community partnerships

How will we serve them?

  • All guests may make 3 visits for food (no questions asked); however, upon their fourth visit, guests will be required to meet with a Care Team member to share their personal situation
  • Members will be served on an appointment-only basis for all services, including food, so we are sure not turn any of them away.
  • We are in the process of determining how we define what it means to be an “involved attender.”

On November 1, we intend to begin a comprehensive communication strategy about these changes in the way we will serve guests, and intend to have the changes fully implemented by January 1. During the transition, guests who visit us but live outside the geographical radius will be given a one-time “grace” visit. Additionally, we will begin providing emergency bags of groceries to those who arrive after we have reached capacity. Please pray that the transition will be smooth, that God gives us wisdom and instruction, and that we are able to serve our guests with the highest level of dignity and the love of Christ.

Peace and Blessings,

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Josie Guth
Care Center Directorgeographical-area-we-serve

We will serve households living in the following communities:

Addison
Algonquin
Arlington Heights
Barrington
Barrington Heights
Barrington Hills
Bartlett
Bensenville
Bloomingdale
Buffalo Grove
Carol Stream
Carpentersville
Cary
Crystal Lake
Deer Park
Des Plaines
Dundee
East Dundee
Elgin
Elk Grove Village
Fox River Grove
Gilberts
Glendale Heights
Hanover Park
Hawthorn Woods
Hoffman Estates
Indian Creek
Inverness
Island Lake
Itasca
Kildeer
Lake Barrington
Lake in the Hills
Lake Zurich
Lincolnshire
Lombard
Long Grove
Medinah
Mount Prospect
Mundelein
North Barrington
Oakwood Hills
Palatine
Port Barrington
Prairie View
Rolling Meadows
Roselle
Schaumburg
Sleepy Hollow
South Barrington
South Elgin
St. Charles
Streamwood
Tower Lake
Vernon Hills
Wauconda
Wayne
West Chicago
West Dundee
Wheeling
Wood Dale

The Pro-grace Potential

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Caris Girls

Samantha’s Story
When Samantha found out she was pregnant, she thought her life was over. “I was devastated,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it was happening to me.” Growing up in the church, she never saw abortion as an option to any pregnancy. “Everything changed when I was the one facing the decision. I couldn’t imagine living with the consequences of an abortion, but being a mom I felt like I had to give up on all my dreams,” says Samantha.

Samantha knew she needed to talk with someone, but she was scared to talk with her family and friends. So she turned to Caris, a faith-based non-profit counseling organization, serving any woman facing an unexpected pregnancy. At Caris a counselor listened and offered her resources. When Samantha decided to keep her baby, she felt like a huge weight had been lifted.

After her son, Jordan, was born, Samantha began attending a Caris Connection Group at Willow Creek where she met other women who were experiencing the same struggles she was. “I didn’t feel judged and I realized I wasn’t alone,” she says.

“I started going to church at Willow Creek and when they invited people to get baptized, I knew God was speaking to me,” she says. “I realize God has used my experiences and put people in my path for a reason. I cannot wait to see what He has in store for me.”
Every day women like Samantha find grace, acceptance, and hope through Caris’ program where each woman is valued and treated with dignity.square caris

Discovering Hope
While the Church should be first place that women in this situation turn, sadly, they don’t because they expect to be judged. “When women experience grace from Christians they’re often stunned,” says Angie Weszely, president of Caris.
This has shaped Caris’ vision and dream of helping the church become a place of radical grace that offers hope. “As Christians, we all recognize that we have experienced and desperately need God’s grace. Once women know they can expect acceptance and grace in the church, it changes the whole story.”

It’s through this radical grace, that women discover hope they don’t have to settle for an abortion or a life of struggle. They can live a new story.

Mutual Transformation
Radical grace also holds potential for everyone involved. “Demonstrating grace has the potential to transform one life at a time, starting with our own,” says Angie. “Every time we work in partnership with the church and with Christians, there is exponential transformation in the lives of women. I can’t wait to see the potential this unlocks.”

And that’s where the Care Center comes in.

Beginning in October, the Care Center will offer unplanned pregnancy counseling, and support groups using Caris’ pro-grace ministry model.  “We are thrilled to be in partnership with an organization that aligns so closely with our core values of hope, dignity and transformation,” says Josie Guth, Care Center Director. “Willow has always striven to be known as a radically inclusive community that welcomes everyone with grace. I am so excited the Care Center is taking the next step in becoming that kind of community.”

This new Care Center service will be offered from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. For those interested in volunteering, visit our website to sign up.

A Second Chance at Transformation

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“My first time at [the] Care Center for food was on April 3 when you also had a job fair. All the food was awesome and much appreciated; plus, I got a job. The Care Center was a double blessing for me; praise Him. Willow has been changing my life ever since I started attending.”

-Employment Services Participant from Homer Glen

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The beauty of the Care Center’s Employment Services is the incredible potential it holds for life transformation. A job can provide hope and a future to Care Center guests in a way that little else can. For a single mom, a job means the ability to provide for her kids. For a 21-year old recently released from incarceration, it means a second chance to build a new life. These stories and others have continued to pour in from guests who have found work and hope through participating in the Care Center’s Employment Services (ES).

The Care Center exists to fight poverty and injustice so that lives are transformed and Jesus is known. ES helps guests move from simply finding help for an immediate need to a place where they are equipped to meet their own needs.

This is accomplished in three ways: employment counseling, skills training, and job fairs. Employment counseling includes one-on-one advice on resume writing and interview skills. Skills trainings involve skill-building workshops and entrepreneurship training courses.

“One-on-one counseling is our mainstay,” says Anne Rand, Employment Services Program Manager. “And the great part of it is that our employment counselors are gifted inwhat they do.”

Each counselor is invaluable, offering his or her time and talent to help each guest. No appointments are necessary and counselors are available every Wednesday between the hours of 10 a.m-12 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m.

BACK TO WORK  
In addition to one-on-one counseling and skills training events, ES hosts quarterly job fairs, which are some of the most anticipated events created by the team. These job fairs have been an imperative component to the Care Center, helping both the unemployed and the underemployed find permanent employment. At the last job fair alone, 31 employers were available to accept applications and conduct interviews with nearly 275 participants present.

IT’S WORKING
At each job fair in the last year, Anne has distributed “celebration cards,” to each participant in an attempt to capture some of the stories of those who have found work and hope through Employment Services. The celebration card is simply a card that guests fill out and return to the Care Center with their story if they are hired by one of the employers at the fair. “It’s been so exciting to receive these cards and read about the families and lives that are changed as a result of finding work,” says Anne.

WHAT’S NEXT?
Employment Services has been active for almost two years, and it has continued to expand its services in order to meet the growing needs of the guests. “In 2014, we hope to do even more,” says Anne. “We just want people to have the skills and the support they need in the context of a Christian community— and to know that God is for them, and we are, too.”

New workshops and support groups will be added over the next several months. September 10 marks the beginning of an eight-week employment support group that was created to help people learn essential work skills while receiving the spiritual support they need.

If you or someone you know could benefit from the resources provided by Employment Services, don’t hesitate to learn more. Register for upcoming events at the Compassion & Justice webpage. Learn more about services offered at the Care Center.

The Power of an Hour: A Child’s Life and Beyond

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Kids Hope

Kids Hope USA is a national organization that partners with local churches that in turn, partner with local elementary schools. Tapping into an ever-expanding network of school/church partnerships, Kid Hope USA pairs adult mentors with students who are struggling. By spending just one hour per week reading, talking, playing, and listening to a child at school during the child’s lunch period, a volunteer mentor can help him feel loved and valued. That can contribute to helping a child learn, grow, and succeed.

One of the reasons the Kids Hope USA program is so effective is their ability to get into schools where these children can be reached. Principals and teachers have witnessed firsthand the effectiveness of the program mentors in improving the lives of at-risk children. While the scope of the program remains focused on the one hour that takes place at school, there are opportunities for children to invite their families to Kids Hope-sponsored events and the chance of continued summer contact through the use of permission slips sent home to the parents. If the mentor’s relationship with the student grows beyond the jurisdiction of the school, then the child and the entire family can be invited to church events.

Willow Creek South Barrington sponsors 11 schools and mentors 55-60 children. The 2013 school year will be the fourth year in which church volunteers have participated, and in each school, the church partners with a director who also serves as a mentor. Full training and support is provided. Mentors are also associated with a prayer partner who prays for the success of the relationship.

Kellye Fabian, program manager for the Kids Hope ministry at Willow Creek, under the umbrella of The Care Center, says the need for volunteers is tremendous, particularly for male volunteers. The program’s relationship with the schools is also an effective way to let the students’ families know about the Willow Creek Care Center, where they are able to find help with other life struggles.

Kellye’s passion for the program is clear as she tells story after story about how God orchestrates mentorships to lift not only individual children but, in some cases, their entire family. “There is so much God timing around this ministry,” says Kellye as she speaks of entire families who were touched first by Kids Hope, then by Willow’s church and Care Center.

Dana Wells, a volunteer who is a Kids Hope director for two schools, spoke of children barely able to smile, or talk above a whisper who are learning to trust a mentor who returns week after week to teach them about the power of choice and the importance of having dreams, goals, and ambitions. It’s “planting good seeds,” says Dana.

As the Kids Hope ministry prepares for the upcoming school year, they will launch volunteer training events beginning in August. If you have one hour per week to give of yourself and you want to make sure that hour counts, consider the impact of becoming a Kids Hope mentor. Volunteers can be paired with a student at a school near their home or place of work.

The kickoff and invitational for the upcoming school year will be held from 9-11 a.m. on August 17 in room B100. Refreshments will be provided. Email Kellye Fabian for more information or by visit the Kids Hope USA website.

 

Royal Family Kids Camp Is a Royal Success

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Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

This year’s seventh annual camp was a huge success that transformed volunteers and campers alike.   Royal Family Kids Camp (RFKC) is a Willow Creek ministry partner directed by Barton and Karen Francour.  The Francours, after raising four children of their own, recognized a need and decided to foster an additional 16 children over the course of thirteen years.  After experiencing a powerful week of wilderness camping at Camp Paradise (Willow Creek’s camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula), and knowing the need to support children in the foster care system, Bart and Karen joined forces with RFKC to provide those children with a meaningful camp experience.

RFKC is a national organization that helps bring Christ-centered joy and healing to children who have been physically, emotionally, and mentally neglected.  The statistical evidence of children who live in abusive homes and end up as adults who face a life-long battle of low self-esteem, hopelessness, homelessness, anger, addictions, and criminal behavior is staggering.   RFKC helps to spare these at-risk children by providing hurting kids a safe place to discover they are precious treasures in God’s sight and are welcomed into God’s family.

June marks the seventh year of providing local foster kids from Cook and Lake Counties the gift of an adventure-filled week of God’s love, joy, healing, and family-style structure.  This year, 92 campers, ages seven to twelve years, along with approximately 80 volunteers completed camp.  Dozens of Willow Creek members made the week of camp possible by volunteering as leaders.  They were trained to be the campers’ aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  When campers arrived at the Lake Geneva camp on Monday they were greeted with high-fives, hugs, and personalized signs, and were plugged into their family units.RFKCFinalGroupPhoto

Royal Plan
The campers took a guided walk through Jeremiah 29:11.   The camp was “under construction” as God’s blueprints for their lives were revealed over the course of five days.  Each day campers learned how to build a good spiritual foundation for their lives by making wise choices.  Choices like prayer, trusting God, and following the Bible were all part of God’s blueprint for each camper. Building a firm foundation in Christ was the goal.

The volunteer’s blueprint was to build up each camper, affirming them and helping restore their self-esteem.  Leaders are charged with providing the children with a supportive, emotional and physically safe environment.  The low camper-to-counselor ratio helps provide the foster children with a ready ears and open hearts at all times.

Lessons of God’s love were also coupled with fun! A typical day at camp is jam packed with excitement, adventure, and activity. Every day is entirely structured and starts around 7 a. m.  with calisthenics and the breakfast club.  Morning and afternoon chapel time is integrated into the day as well as campfires, crafts, and woodworking.  Campers go boating, swimming, and experience family style dinners and tea parties decked with fine china and tablecloths.  Brave campers even partake in an early morning polar bear swim.  On Wednesday, every camper’s birthday is celebrated.  The camp has a huge birthday party extravaganza and each child receives an age and gender appropriate birthday box with special gifts just for them inside.DSC_4667
Royal Gifts
The ultimate goal of RFKC is that each camper would discover their worth in Christ.  At camp they are taught they belong and are invited to join God’s Royal Family as His children.  Volunteers instill and plant seeds of salvation, hope, and love into the hearts of these campers.  They work to reinforce the fact that the campers are cherished children of God.

To continue the camp experience and remind campers of all they learn at camp, campers are given gifts and tools to refresh them when things get tough at home—gifts like a play-away with all the music from camp, a photo memory book, and a Bible.  At the end of the week, one child shared that “Monday was their favorite day at camp…because I wait all year to come here.”

Campers are encouraged to return to camp each year until they age out of the program.  Many campers return years later, ready to volunteer with younger children who need attention, love, and support from someone who intimately understands their situation.

Because of the Francours and dozens of other Willow Creek volunteers who have heeded the calling to make camp their summer mission, many children have been able to feel the healing and lasting power of God’s love year after year.

For more information about Royal Family Kids Camp and how you can volunteer in the future, email Camp Directors Bart and Karen Francour.

Open Doors

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On June 3, the Care Center opened the doors to the new 60,000-square foot building that not only provides ample space for existing ministries to serve the needs of the community, but three brand new ministries as well—a dental and vision clinic, a children’s clothing store, and the Care Team, a team created to assist guests in navigating all available resources both at the Care Center and in the community.

The health clinic was designed to help the under-resourced receive adequate dental and eye care services. Each guest is required to undergo an eligibility screening, which includes review of their income and age, as well as verification that they earn at or below 150 percent of the poverty level and have no insurance. Under this program, each guest is able to receive dental and eye care for a minimal fee for up to a year, at which point they can reapply.

“Our guests, and the struggles they face with health challenges, were the inspiration to launch health services as part of our Care Center,” said Dave Cimo, Health Services Program Manager. “We learned so much as we spoke with our guests and learned of their challenges.”

According to a survey conducted by Willow Creek and given to Care Center guests in 2011, “42% did not see a doctor when they thought they should; 60% had not seen a dentist or had their eyes examined in the past two years; and more than 75% had no dental or eye care insurance.” After further investigation, Willow staff members discovered that there were not many dental and eye clinics available to serve under-resourced and uninsured individuals.

The new health services space features four dental rooms manned by volunteer dentists, dental assistants, and hygienists, and allows patients to receive a full exam, cleaning, and basic reconstructive work (fillings). The health services space also features a two-room eye clinic where full eye exams will be given and an area where patients can be fitted for glasses. Each dental and eye visit costs $20; frames will start at $25.

Further exploration of guest needs led to the creation of a children’s clothing store. For people struggling financially, buying new clothes is difficult, especially when continually having to purchase clothes for children who grow every year. Because of the new clothing store, parents and guardians will be able to visit the store twice a year, after passing an eligibility screening, to find new and gently used clothing for their children. At each visit, parents will select several clothing items for each child and will pay a flat fee of $5 per child.

Clothing donations are still needed to keep the store fully stocked. Donations can be brought to the new Care Center during regular hours of operation, or can be dropped off in the outdoor bins at any time. The bins are currently located between the D and F entrances of the church. All pajamas, undergarments, and socks must be new and all shoes must have laces intact.

The key to these two services and the implementation of holistic care and support for guests who often deal with numerous challenges, from feeding their family to unemployment, is the Care Team.

“The Care Team was created to provide a tangible expression of care and compassion for both those outside and inside the walls of Willow Creek Community Church,” said Thelma Talamantes, Care Team Program Manger.

The Care Team is available to meet with any guest during the Care Center’s open hours and only on the first and third Sunday of every month. If a guest requires additional support, a Care Pastor meets with them to ensure his or her spiritual needs are met.

“The ministry streamlines the process for anyone needing assistance in our church or community,” said Thelma. “There is a clear front door for help and one team involved in assessing people’s needs and connecting them to resources and ongoing care.”

While the Care Center was established to serve the needs of the community, it was also created to represent Jesus’ love and compassion towards all His children.

“I often read our Compassion and Justice mission statement that reads ‘Fighting poverty and injustice so that lives are transformed and Jesus is known,’ ” said Dave. “Our hope is that our Care Center will indeed be used to transform lives with the ultimate goal of Jesus being known.”

The Care Center depends on dedicated staff and volunteers, and volunteers are still needed to serve in each ministry area. Visit the Care Center website to learn more and sign up to volunteer. If you have additional questions, simply email carecenter@willowcreek.org for more information.

Under One Roof

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In June of 2012, work on the new 60,000-square-foot Care Center on the South Barrington campus began. One year later, with help from Willow staff and volunteers and generous financial support from the Willow congregants, the new Care Center will officially open on June 3.

“Our team can barely wait to swing open the doors to our guests,” said Josie Guth, the Care Center Director. “It has been three years since we first announced the move back onto campus. The time has allowed us to plan and complete the new Care Center, and now we are almost ready.”

Plans to move the Care Center were met with much excitement, sparking a wave of anticipation throughout the Willow community. From a spiritual viewpoint, moving the Care Center next to the church means that people who are seeking services from the center will be introduced to the church. Additionally, constructing a new building has allowed the Care Center team to add services that include healthcare and a children’s clothing store, as well as expand existing services.

“As you can imagine, there are so many details to cover in a project this big,” said Josie. The staff team has been working around the clock to ensure the new Care Center is properly equipped and the volunteers are ready for the grand opening.

“We have been training our volunteers in many new processes. We are building a new database that will be rolled out in the next few weeks; the construction team is putting the final touches on the building; and we are planning an engaging tour experience for the congregation to see the space,” said Josie. “It is a huge team effort.”

Beginning in May, Willow attenders will be offered the opportunity to tour the new Care Center facility. Those who are involved in section communities are encouraged to sign up for a tour with their section leader. All other attenders are welcome to sign up for a tour and take a sneak peak of the new facility before the doors open to guests on June 3.

“We are anticipating lots of new energy all around campus,” said Josie. “We can’t wait for our guests to experience the new building and most importantly our church community. We are also thrilled that many new Willow attenders will have an increased opportunity to serve.”

Although Care Center guests have always be invited and welcome to attend Willow, and thousands of Willow attenders have spent time serving Care Center guests, most attenders and guests have never crossed paths.  The new facility enables them to be under the same roof for the first time. “The Care Center staff is eagerly looking forward to the opportunities we have to learn from one another and do life together at a greater level,” says Josie.

Royal Family KIDS Camp

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Royal Family Kids Camp

While walking along a camp trail at Royal Family KIDS Camp, Riley looked up and told his counselor, “This must be what heaven is like!”

Bart and Karen Francour raised four children of their own and fostered sixteen, so they know a thing or two about steering children in the right direction. After a conversation in 2005 with Tim Vanden Bos, director of Willow Creek’s Camp Paradise, they transitioned into a new way to impact the lives of children.

“What we really need is a camp for children who have no fathers,” said Tim. Inspired by Tim’s words, a seasoned team of volunteers joined the Francours and helped give birth to Royal Family KIDS Camp (RFKC) in Lake Geneva.

“Our mission,” said Bart,“is to provide a week filled with fun, hope, and positive memories for 7-11 year-olds living in the foster care system in Lake, Cook, and McHenry counties. Our goal is to introduce them to the God who loves them, and to guide them toward productive lives.”

Gearing up for the Season
RFKC, entering its seventh season, takes place the week of June 9-14 in Lake Geneva, WI. And it’s all about making the kids feel like royalty. Activity centers, games, sports, hiking, swimming, boating, and a great Bible-based curriculum are all part of the excellent program. “We even have an event called “Everyone’s Birthday Party” since many have never had their birthday’s celebrated,” said Karen. At the end of the week, they leave with a memory bag that includes a Bible, a MP4 player with camp songs, a treasured letter from their counselor, and a personalized photo album.

How You Can Help
“If you hear God’s whisper to reach out and impact the life and touch the heart of a beautiful, yet hurting child,” said Bart, “we’d ask that you prayerfully consider serving with us.” There is a crucial need to fill both female and male counselor openings before our first training on April 20 at Willow’s South Barrington campus. More than 50 counselors are needed to serve at the June camp alone. Also, camper scholarships and corporate donors are needed to finance the week.

For information about RFKC, please email Camp Director Bart Francour, at rfkc_lakecook.il@sbcglobal.net or call (847) 382-0884.

“We are God’s plan to reach children of abuse, neglect, and abandonment.” Wayne Tesch, Founder of Royal Family KIDS – Camps, Clubs & Mentoring

If Cars Could Talk … An Inside Look at Why People Donate Cars

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If cars could talk …

SO: What are you in for?

CV: Oh, I’m getting a physical. They’ll look under the hood, check my fluids, check my mechanical systems and generally ensure that I’m in good working order. How about you?

SO: Same thing. The volunteers and staff here at the C.A.R.S. Ministry already looked at me and they were thorough. By the way, I’m Subaru Outback.

CV: Glad to meet you. They call me Chevy Venture. So what brings you here?

SO: Well, after many good years together, my family decided it was time for me to go on a missions trip of sorts. They had multiple cars and wanted to help a single mom or a family in need of reliable transportation. As members of Willow Creek Community Church, they had heard stories over the years about how families just like ours donated their vehicles to the C.A.R.S. Ministry and how that had a profound impact on the families that received them.

CV: Wow, my family felt the same way. Mom said that her dad died when she was eight and her mom had a tough time financially. As an adult, she said that when she and dad were ready to get a new vehicle, it just felt like the right thing to do to donate me and help someone facing similar hardships. I am the second car they have donated. This ministry is one my family believes in.

SO: Helping and giving are priorities in my family too. As my dad shared, “Our daughter and her husband donated a car two years ago. This motivated us. Volunteering and giving are priorities of ours. It’s our responsibility to help others.”

While the talking cars part of this story may be fictitious, the information contained in the above scenario comes from actual families who have donated vehicles to the C.A.R.S. Ministry. The ministry accepts vehicles of all shapes and sizes, all model years and in any condition. Note that even cars that don’t run can be donated. Vehicles appropriate to meeting the needs of families in need, particularly single moms, are serviced and given away. Others are sold to fund repairs and support the ongoing operations of the C.A.R.S. Ministry. All donations are tax deductible.

Next Steps

For more information on donating a car to the C.A.R.S. Ministry, please contact Dan Hybels or call (224) 512-1116. Also check out the Online Donation Form. For more information on serving in the C.A.R.S. Ministry, please contact John Gingerich, call (224) 512-2074 or sign up online.

Category : Local Outreach