Chicago Auto Show Food Drive Raises 10 Tons of Food for Homeless

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A Safe Haven beneficiary of drive sponsored by Chicago Auto Show, Humana, Chrysler, the Chicago Sun-Times, Be! Products, and Alan Josephsen Co. Inc.

CHICAGO, Feb. 22, 2012 – Visitors to the Chicago Auto Show last week were offered discounted admission to thank them for contributions of canned goods for homeless and hungry Chicagoans served by A Safe Haven. They responded by contributing 20,000 pounds of food to the cause, according to Dave Sloan, general manager of the Chicago Auto Show.

“Based on the level of participation among enthusiastic donors, it is good to know that the spirit of giving to those experiencing homelessness is alive and well in Chicago during these difficult economic times,” said Neli Vazquez-Rowland, President of A Safe Haven. “We are grateful to our sponsors, The Chicago Auto Show, Humana, the Chicago Sun-Times, Be! Products Nail Lacquer & Strengtheners, and Alan Josephsen Co. Inc. for the opportunity to be the beneficiary of this incredibly generous food drive to help feed the homeless. We would also like to thank this year’s volunteers, many of them residents of our programs.” said Vazquez-Rowland, named Chicagoan of the Year last year by Chicago Magazine. “Chicagoans were able to see the world’s most innovative car models by donating to America’s most innovative community development model, based right here in Chicago.”

A Safe Haven’s Community Food Pantry distributes groceries to hundreds of families a month 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 also feeds residents at the homeless services organization, which offers comprehensive services to return individuals in crisis to self-sufficiency. Over 228,000 meals were prepared and served at A Safe Haven from the donations received last year. The healthful meals are prepared on site by residents receiving job training in the Food Service Professional Institute, one of several such services offered. Due to a strong training and certification program, and great relationships with the restaurant industry, A Safe Haven placed over 80% of its Food Service trainees into employment last year.

“I just want to thank everybody who sponsored and who are involved with the Auto Show and everybody who made a contribution and a donation to A Safe Haven,” said Laura Page, a volunteer for A Safe Haven every year at the Auto Show and every week at the Community Food Pantry. “I just want you to know that A Safe Haven restores lives from homelessness to self-sufficiency. I also was a resident of A Safe Haven years ago and they gave me my life back. By contributing to A Safe Haven, you save lives.”

“Over the past 16 years the Chicago Auto Show has collected over 320,000 pounds of food, including 20,000 pounds this year for A Safe Haven. Poverty and homelessness are issues that matter to all of us, and the Chicago Auto Show is a great way to unite around a common cause and give back to this great community,” said Dave Sloan, general manager of the Chicago Auto Show. “In a city know for its big shoulders, it is a privilege for all of us at the Chicago Auto Show to make an impact on the lives of those in need.”

For more information about A Safe Haven, go to http://www.ASafeHaven.org and see the Chicago Auto Show Food Drive high-resolution photo gallery.