CARS of America Inc. has donated $2,400 to Women in Need Growing Stronger (WINGS), a Palatine organization that serves homeless and abused women and children. CARS has donated a refurbished vehicle or a cash contribution every year since 2005, when the company adopted victims of domestic violence as its primary charitable cause.
“When I learned that 25 percent of the female population is either a victim of domestic violence or knows a victim, it became important to me to support organizations like WINGS on a regular basis,” said Bob Dupre, CARS’ founder and director of business development. “Logically, that 25 percent statistic applies approximately to our client base. If we’re going to give back, I want it to be to a cause that directly affects our clients, their friends and their family.”
This year's donation will be used for transportation needs of the residents, according to Terri Channer, senior director of development for WINGS.
The Safe House Transportation Fund is used in a variety of ways:
• to pay for taxi vouchers that allow women to maintain court dates and doctor appointments for themselves and their children
• to provide Metra and Pace passes that make it possible for women to get to their jobs
• to buy gas cards that help the women pay for their gas
• to help women with needed car repairs that make it possible to carry on with their day-to-day lives
Donations like the one from CARS are critical for WINGS, which receives less than 25 percent of its budget from the government, Channer said. During the last fiscal year, the group provided 430 women and children with 67,652 nights of shelter. Women enter WINGS with little or no income, transportation, childcare or access to affordable housing. WINGS provides a support system that helps women secure a job, live in reasonably priced housing and have access to subsidized daycare. But without reliable transportation, many women are unable to stay employed or even get to an initial job interview.
"While mass transit is an option for those who live in the northwest suburbs and work in downtown Chicago, intra-suburban public transportation is spotty at best,” Channer said. “WINGS has received generous donations of gently used automobiles for some of our residents, but often the cost of repairs and even of gas becomes prohibitive."
Channer said there’s a natural tie-in with CARS of America and the challenges domestic violence victims face.
“There are two huge issues for women who are victims,” she said. “One, transportation is an issue. Two, childcare is a second big issue. If they don’t have a car, they can’t get to work. And if they don’t have someone to take care of their kids, they can’t go to work.”
This content was submitted by a member of the community. We'd like to hear from you, too! To share stories, photos, video or events for our calendar, please send them here.