OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. (WLS) -- For the eighth year in a row, the new-car dealers of Chicagoland are supporting hometown heroes, with a barbecue for the troops.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will look different than these celebrations in the past.
But you can still stop in any participating dealership Saturday and the rest of October to make a donation and show support.
Funds go to the USO of Illinois, which provides services for military members and their families.
Donations are also accepted online through participating dealership websites or at DriveChicago.com.
The partnership between the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, 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, the event's organizers said.
"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."
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 more information about the USO of Illinois, visit USOofIllinois.org.
USO Midwest Region President Alison Ruble joined ABC 7 Chicago Saturday to talk about the event.