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CHICAGOLAND DEALERS CARE: The Chicago Auto Show Hosts its Annual Blood and Food Drives

The Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA), Chicagoland's new-car dealer association continues to show their care and support to the community by sponsoring Versiti Blood Center of Illinois and A Safe Haven food drive at the 2023 Chicago Auto Show. Emblematic of the new-car dealer members’ dedication to the community, the Chicago Auto Show’s annual blood drive and food drive each resulted in remarkable success. 

Versiti’s 2023 Chicago Auto Show Dennis Buckley Memorial Blood Drive ran from February 11-20, during the public run of the show. Dennis Buckley, a former staff member of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, helped lead the auto show and was a driving force behind the blood drives. After passing away from cancer in 2004, the blood drive was named in his honor. It continues as the largest annual blood drive in the state of Illinois. 

This year at the 2023 Chicago Auto Show, the Dennis Buckley Memorial Blood Drive collected an extraordinary 1,047 units of blood. Of the 928 people that registered, 658 of those individuals gave blood for the first time and 370 were diverse donors.

“We see a lot of first-time donors at the auto show, said Amy Smith, Versiti’s Director of Donor Services Operations.  “People are coming for the opportunity to look at the cars, but end up giving to a lifesaving mission while they are on the show floor.” 

“Out of all of our special event drives, we see the highest amount of first time and diverse donors that come through the auto show,” said Smith. “There is a great mix of diverse communities that come to the auto show and they tend to be the most giving.”

Smith explains that diverse donors are crucial because Versiti “ensures the right blood types and matches as we look at rare patients that need blood in the Black and Brown communities. We are constantly in need of O-Positive and O-Negative types of blood, as only four percent of the Black and Brown communities are giving blood.” 

A Safe Haven Foundation helps Chicagoans experiencing homelessness become self-sufficient through housing, healthy lifestyles, and employment. The new-car dealers of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association recognize the importance of helping those in their communities. With that, the Chicago Auto Show partnered with A Safe Haven’s Community Food Pantry that distributes food to families in Chicago. 

From February 15 through the 17, individuals who brought three cans of food to the Chicago Auto Show received a coupon of $5 off a full-price adult ticket. All the food brought was donated to A Safe Haven and will be distributed to families five miles from McCormick Place. Through the kindness of attendees of the Chicago Auto Show, the amount of food collected doubled from last year. This year, seven gaylord boxes were filled to the top. This equates to four tons of food and provides nutritious meals to thousands of families in need. 

"A Safe Haven is grateful to the Chicago Automobile Trade Association for their sponsorship of the Chicago Auto Show Food Drive and their continued partnership in addressing the issue of hunger in our community, said Mark Mulroe, A Safe Haven’s president.  “Each year, we receive thousands of canned goods to aid our pantry and other local food pantries in North Lawndale. This support helps us ensure that individuals and families experiencing homelessness and food insecurity have healthy meals and do not go hungry!”

“I am so humbled to be part of a group of car dealers that takes pride in giving back to the community and for making all of this possible for more than two decades, said Kevin Keefe 2023 Chicago Auto Show chairman.



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