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Faith-driven ministry offers cars for needy

Updated: August 3, 2011 9:23PM

ELGIN — Last year, C.A.R.S. Ministry of Willow Creek Community Church provided vehicles for 434 single mothers and others with transportation needs.

C.A.R.S. Ministry is at 1480 Sheldon Drive in Elgin. According to Susan DeLay, head of communications at the church, the ministry began 23 years ago.

“Three men who loved working on cars approached Senior Pastor Bill Hybels and asked what they could do for the single moms and families with transportation issues,” DeLay said. “The ministry was birthed in a pole barn on the church property in South Barrington.”

Today, the C.A.R.S. facility includes a 6,500-square-foot shop with seven lifts and 2,500 square feet of office space on a 2-acre lot. Ninety to 100 volunteers from all walks of life come to the facility every week to work on donated vehicles. Some of the volunteers are church members, while others are from the community.

Basic safety-related items are inspected, such as tires, brake systems and suspension components, including shocks and struts. Basic engine maintenance is performed, such as tune-ups and checking the filters and batteries.

“Donated vehicles range from sedans like Honda Civics to minivans,” DeLay said. “Cars that are not reliable enough or suitable to provide to a single mom are sold to help fund the ministry. Willow Creek’s pastoral care ministries walk our guests with transportation needs through the qualification process.”

DeLay said that a new facility on the church’s South Barrington campus at 67 E. Algonquin Road is in the planning stages. The church hopes to break ground for the proposed facility this summer.

The church will hold a car show during its upcoming DadFest. People may come to the event and display their vehicles at the show for no charge.

“DadFest is the largest Father’s Day celebration in the northwest suburbs,” DeLay said. “It will be held on Saturday after the 5:30 p.m. service and on Sunday after the 9 and 11:30 a.m. services. Senior Pastor Hybels will engage fathers in a challenging message. Teaching Pastor Darren Whitehead will interview Chicago Bears wide receiver/return specialist Devin Hester during all three services.”

“Willow Creek will transform a large portion of its parking lot to the family-friendly DadFest event that will include the car show and live bands such as 7th Heaven and American English, a Beatles tribute band,” DeLay added. “DadFest is free, including some food, but there will also be certain food items available for purchase.”

For more information, call (847) 765-5000;

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