Driven to Care

Eight residents strained by economic hardship will no longer have to endure the winter without a vehicle. For the past 12 years, the organization Naperville CARES (Community Acting in Response to Economic Stress) has been refurbishing used vehicles and giving them to people without one.

For the first time, a dealership has donated the vehicles and just in time for the holidays. Continental motors wanted a way to give back to the community as it celebrates its 50th anniversary

“We’ve enjoyed a lot of success and we just wanted to find a way to give back to the community,” said owner Joel Weinberger. “Since we’re in the car business and having a car will enable to keep their job or get a new job or take care of their family, we felt like we could make an impact with a new set of wheels.”

Getting a new set of wheels are two Naperville moms who’ve had to walk to work or rely on others for a ride.

“With my pay, it’s hard to get a car to get back and forth to work and I’m tired of depending on my mom,” said D. Laurinthia Clark. “It’s a blessing cause I’m having a lot of hard times right now so getting a car is a very great Christmas present.”

“It’ll help to help find a better job, it’ll help me so I wont have to walk with my daughter in the cold,” said Tiffany Adams.
Naperville CARES has found that the need for an automobile is so great that they expanded their car donation program to all of DuPage County.

“Because we are still mostly volunteers, we can’t take a cold call through a client,” said Executive Director Janet Derrick. “Our client must come through one of our partnering agencies that we work with on a daily basis.”

And residents outside Naperville are thankful. A Marine veteran, Oscar Zepeda of Lisle received a car thanks to CARES’ partnership with the Veterans Assistance Program.

“I remember walking in winters during the blizzard of last year working and it makes you appreciate having a sound car,” said Zepeda.

As for the dealership’s owner, he appreciates the opportunity to help others.
“When you actually see the recipients of the vehicles & really hear their stories on how their vehicle will make an impact on their life, it’s amazing,” said Weinberger. “It touches your heart.”
Continental Motors plans to donate more cars in the near future.

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