In 1998 a community survey conducted by church leaders showed that there were many groups, both private and public, doing good work in the community but there was little coordination or cooperation between these groups. So Naperville CARES, a 501(c)3 organization, was formed and began serving the community in 1999 by helping local families in financial crisis meet their essential needs by providing emergency financial support and resources. Besides helping residents pay for basic needs like rent and utilities, CARES also started a unique Car Program that repairs vehicles that have been donated by members of the community and then gives them to families who lack reliable transportation to get to work. CARES also repairs vehicles of eligible clients who are working or actively seeking employment. During the past 14 years CARES has developed strong, collaborative partnerships with area congregations as well as government and social service agencies so that services are coordinated and not duplicated. CARES only has one full-time and two part-time employees therefore most of the client services are provided by the almost sixty CARES volunteers who last year provided our clients with over 9,000 service hours.
Since 1999 through the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2013, CARES has distributed over $2.4 million in financial assistance to aid local families by providing $1.5 million in CARES funds and collaborating with area congregations, government and social service agencies to provide an additional $900,000. We have also provided over 550 cars to households that lacked critical transportation to get to work and last year repaired eleven client vehicles.