CARS.COM — A small community center in Chicago has a big place in the heart of a South Side neighborhood. I Grow Chicago in Englewood provides social services, mentoring and transportation services for its neighbors. That's where Cars.com comes in.
Through its Drive It Forward campaign, Cars.com donated a new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica loaded with winter gear and toiletries to I Grow Chicago. The Pacifica will allow the community center to safely transport neighbors to doctor appointments, area schools and more.
"Poverty and isolation, we have found, really comes with actually not ever being able to get out. The community is completely isolated, and transportation is a huge piece of that," said Robbin Carroll, founder of I Grow Chicago. "The van for us will make an enormous difference in being able to end isolation."
The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica won Cars.com's Best of 2017 award, and the Editorial department spent most of 2017 putting the minivan through its paces as part of its long-term fleet. The redesigned minivan stood out from competition thanks to its good looks and easy-to-use Stow 'n Go seats. The flexible seating arrangement makes the minivan ideal for the many ways I Grow Chicago will use the Pacifica, including hauling items for the community center's neighborhood garden or simply taking a vanload of children to an area museum.
"We're happy to provide a safe transportation option for the I Grow organization and give back to an incredibly worthy cause right here in our backyard," said Brooke Skinner Ricketts, chief marketing officer for Cars.com. "At our core, Cars.com helps build connections between people and we believe in strengthening local communities for the greater good."
Founded in 2013, I Grow Chicago supports Englewood community programs centered on yoga and mindful movement, creative expression, urban farming, restorative justice and community building. The community center also provides a food pantry, community kitchen and laundry services.
"Our vision is a world where love lives in public," said Erin Vogel, I Grow Chicago's co-executive director. "We embody that in all that we do."
The donated minivan will be used at once, Vogel said, to help deliver holiday presents to area children.
"This is huge for us as an organization, for our community to move forward," she said. "And then on another level, it is so important that not only Chicago, but the world, sees that organizations and companies like Cars.com care about Englewood. They care about people moving forward in their life, and that really is what this van is doing."
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