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The Chicago Automobile Trade Association and USO of Illinois Partner for Fifth Year of Charitable Barbecue for the Troops Initiative


The Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA), Chicagoland’s new-car dealer association, and the USO of Illinois announce the fifth consecutive year of the “Barbecue for the Troops” program. Over the past four years, 100 CATA dealerships have rallied within their communities to help raise nearly a half of a million dollars for the USO of Illinois. This year, local dealers are firing up their grills on Saturday, July 15.

What began as a grassroots effort in 2013, when dealers agreed to set out a grill to help raise money for local troops, the USO Barbecue for the Troops program has evolved into a widespread metropolitan initiative that continues to gain momentum each year. In 2014, the USO of Illinois nominated the CATA to receive the prestigious USO Salute to Leadership Award due to the program’s success. The award was presented to the CATA at the USO Star-Spangled Salute Gala in recognition of its members’ personal and professional efforts in support of the U.S. Armed Forces.

“We’ve been blown away with the success of the program, and each year outpaces the previous with more funds raised, increased dealership participation and heightened awareness for the USO of Illinois and local military,” said CATA Chairman John Hennessy. “The amount of energy and resources that local dealerships pour into their barbecue fundraisers is unparalleled. Despite the fact that these dealerships represent different brands, they all come together in support of this great cause.”
“CATA dealerships are pillars of their communities and can rally their neighbors like not many are able. We’re thrilled to celebrate the fifth consecutive year of our partnership with the USO of Illinois, and we’re anticipating this year to be the biggest and best yet,” Hennessy continued.

On July 15, approximately 100 dealerships will tap into existing relationships in their communities to add a personal touch to each fundraiser. Patriotic ceremonies, cook-offs, car washes, live music and games for kids of all ages are just a few highlights event attendees will be able to enjoy at dealerships across Chicagoland this summer. 

“The USO of Illinois has partnered with the outstanding team at the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and local dealership partners to bring our USO Barbecue for the Troops initiative to new heights,” said USO of Illinois President and CEO Alison Ruble. “The USO Barbecue for the Troops initiative has raised more than $420,000 to support local troops and their families. Chicagoland dealerships have helped make a difference in the lives of our service members and their families by bringing their hometown communities together to support the USO of Illinois with the Barbecue for the Troops program. Their growing support has made every year more successful than the last. In 2017, we are excited to announce the fifth year of the partnership and are proud to stand with the CATA and local dealerships in their efforts to help all those who serve our nation.”

In addition to the July 15 fundraisers at dealerships throughout the area, many dealerships will be hosting month-long fundraising initiatives that encourage customers to take advantage of donating throughout the entire month of July. Many host ongoing “loose change” drives in their service centers, where customers are encouraged to empty loose change from their cup holders to support the cause. Every cent helps.

Awareness will also spread via social media, where people are encouraged to post, tweet and share why they want to win the Ultimate Backyard Barbecue with #BBQ4Troops. Beginning July 1, fans can submit a photo or short video describing the reason they should win the Ultimate Backyard BBQ, including a private cooking demonstration by Real Urban Barbecue’s chef, and BBQ fare for the winner and 50 of their friends. 

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