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Chicagoland New-Car Dealers to Hold Month-Long Fundraisers for the USO of Illinois



For the past seven years, Chicagoland's new-car dealers have led the charge in supporting hometown heroes by hosting Barbecue for the Troops community fundraisers for the USO of Illinois. While this year is unique, local dealers know the need is there-perhaps now more than ever-to help local military families, which is why dealerships are encouraging the public to stop in on Saturday, Oct. 3, or any time throughout the month of October, to make a donation to the USO of Illinois. Donations are also accepted online through participating dealership websites or at

The partnership between the Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA), the area's new-car dealer association, and the USO of Illinois dates to 2013 when the first Barbecue for the Troops fundraisers were held. Since then, and nearly 600 fundraisers later, local dealerships have rallied their communities in support of the USO of Illinois to raise nearly $900,000 for local military who are serving on the home front during the COVID-19 pandemic and on the frontlines around the world.

"Despite these challenging times, it's evident that dealers want to make a difference," said CATA Chairman Kevin Keefe. "The mentality to help others is deeply rooted within local car dealers, and they're among the first to roll up their sleeves and help when people need it most. While the USO Barbecue for the Troops campaign is just one of many charitable initiatives that dealers support, it's a perfect example of how these local businesses can rally their communities like not many can to all come together around one great cause."

"In these unprecedented times, the generous support of local new-car dealers and our hometown communities is more important than ever," said USO of Illinois Executive Director Christopher Schmidt. "Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the brave men and women who wear the cloth of our nation continue their mission without pause, deploying around the world as well as here at home in support of the fight of COVID-19 across Illinois. USO stands with our service members and their families as the 'Force Behind the Forces,' continuing to provide essential services, programs and activities even through the pandemic. Thank you to all our local dealerships and their patrons-without whom we could not continue our mission," continued Schmidt.

The CATA is also providing an opportunity for people to get involved on social media. Beginning Sept. 21, fans can nominate someone who is deserving of winning the contest's grand prize, the #BBQ4Troops Ultimate At-Home BBQ, complete with a Real Urban Barbecue catering gift card, BBQ essentials for at-home grilling and a Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Kane autographed hockey puck. Visit Drive Chicago on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more details and to enter.

For the complete listing of dealership fundraisers on Oct. 3 or details on how to make an online donation, please visit For more information about the USO of Illinois, visit

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