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You can roll into the auto show and help the homeless

How you can roll into the 2011 Chicago Auto SHow by Helping the Homeless

MINI USA Takes the Wheel With A Safe Haven Foundation in "Drive" for the Hungry

MINI USA, American distributor of the popular MINI Cooper, yesterday agreed to sponsor this week's Chicago Auto Show Food Drive, which provides food to the homeless and deeply discounted tickets to Auto Show visitors who bring canned goods to donate, said Neli Vazquez-Rowland, president of A Safe Haven Foundation, the organization collecting for its Community Food Pantry.

Visitors should bring 3 items to the A Safe Haven Foundation (ASHF) booths at the Auto Show, where they will receive a coupon for $4 off the usual $11 admission.  The promotion runs today through Friday.

"We are grateful to MINI USA and the Chicago Auto Show for the opportunity to put on our 'drive' for the homeless," said Vazquez-Rowland, named last month by Chicago Magazine as a "Chicagoan of the Year."  "We know Chicagoans will want the opportunity to see the world's most innovative car models, by donating to America's most innovative community development model right here in Chicago."

ASHF's Community Food Pantry distributes food to families from neighborhoods in the food desert surrounding the social enterprise's main campus at 2750 West Roosevelt Road, just 5 miles from the Auto Show.  Some of the food feeds residents of the homeless shelter, which offers comprehensive services to return individuals in crisis to self-sufficiency.  The meals served at ASHF are even prepared by residents participating in the food services job training program, one of several such services offered.  A Safe Haven Foundation placed 81% of its trainees into employment last year.

Visitors' canned goods will be held and transported in boxes generously donated by Alan Josephsen Co. Inc.  Former Chicago Bulls player Sidney Green will make an appearance on Thursday between 2 PM and 3 PM to help raise awareness for the issues of homelessness, unemployment, and addiction.

"This is an exciting privilege to participate in A Safe Haven's Food Drive at the Chicago Auto Show, which I've been attending since I was a little boy," said ASHF resident Wilson Dawes, who is volunteering at the booth.  "A Safe Haven Foundation has been like a miracle in my life...  Thanks to the Auto Show, so many people will learn about A Safe Haven Foundation's wonderful work."

"Over the past 15 years the Chicago Auto Show has collected nearly 300,000 pounds of food for A Safe Haven Foundation and we believe that the food drive is an important element of the work we do each year in putting on the auto show in this great community," said Kevin Mize, Chairman of the 2011 Chicago Auto Show.

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