CHICAGO (Dec. 23, 2015) – Chicagoland new-car dealers are busy this holiday season, but not in the way one might think. Sure, sales are good and more people are purchasing cars, but local dealers are also busy this holiday season giving back to their communities and those in need.
Tinley Park dealership Apple Chevrolet teamed up with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve to host a toy drive benefiting Toys for Tots. In just one day over a three-hour period, the dealership collected 2,000 toys for kids in need.
"It was truly amazing to see the community's support. Sometimes it just doesn't feel like Christmas, but our Toys for Tots drive really reinforced the spirit and the season of giving. This is what Christmas should be about," said Apple Chevrolet Dealer Principal John Alfirevich.
"The community poured into the dealership to help; they went out of their way to donate because they said it just felt like the right thing to do," said Alfirevich.
One donor even used Apple Chevrolet's event to teach his kids a lesson. He took them to a popular toy store and told them they could each spend $20 on a toy they wanted the most. Then, when the car was loaded up with their selections, he drove to Apple Chevrolet and told his kids they were going to learn the real meaning of Christmas - they would donate their toys to children who needed them more than they did.
Alfirevich said toys are still rolling in, and the dealership had to ask for more donation boxes to accommodate the influx. He expressed his interest in hosting the Toys for Tots drive again next year, and hopes to make it an annual tradition to help bring joy to kids in need around the holidays.
Meanwhile, Fox Lake dealership Ray Chevrolet teamed up with the local Fire Protection District to help spread holiday cheer to local families.
Ray Chevrolet hosted a pizza party for 34 kids at the dealership that included a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Dealership employees bought a present for each of the kids and provided them McDonald's gift certificates. Then, they took the kids on a shopping spree - each had $35, donated by Ray Chevrolet, to spend at Wal-Mart. Kids raced up and down the store aisles picking out toys, games and clothing as firefighters pushed their shopping carts and helped them pick presents.
"We wanted to do something around the holidays and, with the negativity in the Fox Lake community right now, we thought it was a great way to give back and do something for the community," said Tom Templeton, marketing director at Ray Chevrolet.
Ray Chevrolet and the Fox Lake Protection District say they also want to make this an annual event.