Charity Provides Cars, Repairs for People in Need

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New Life Car Care's volunteers have striven to do good in their community of Matoon, Illinois, for 15 years now by helping people in financial need get reliable vehicles and auto repairs.

The volunteers are seeking the community's help with continuing New Life Car Care's work in the New Year. The nonprofit group's wish list includes donations of labor by experienced mechanics; quarts of motor oil, antifreeze and other supplies; vehicles with clear titles; and commercial garage space.

Board member Jerri Campbell said New Life Car Care helps financially struggling families, seniors on fixed incomes, individuals needing a reliable car to travel to medical appointments out of town, and other people in need.

"There are a lot of people who need working vehicles," Campbell said. "Without a vehicle, they are really stuck."

Director Dan Craw, who founded New Life Car Care, said the nonprofit organization has placed approximately a dozen donated vehicles with people in need during its current fiscal year and there is still about four months remaining. He said they usually get 20-30 requests per year for vehicles.

Craw, a mechanic with 30 years of experience, said he started New Life Car Care in 2001 as a ministry through New Life Tabernacle in Sullivan and then expanded this effort into an independent nonprofit organization a few years later.

"I saw a real need out there in the community," Craw said.

New Life Car Care assists those in need with vehicle repairs; accepts donated vehicles to give to qualifying clients; assists clients with selecting and purchasing affordable, reliable vehicles; works to educate clients on proper vehicle maintenance, and refers clients to reputable repair shops when needed.

The nonprofit organization's auto shop services include oil changes, tune ups, brake repairs, fuel pumps, minor electrical repairs, basic electronic diagnosis, basic transmission service, and other minor repairs. Craw is the sole mechanic with New Life Car Care.

"We could really use the help of more mechanics," Craw said.

Campbell said New Life Car Care could also use commercial garage space with more parking to supplement their auto shop, which is located in Craw's residential garage at 2716 Shelby Ave. She said if the nonprofit group had a commercial lift, for example, they could offer more repair services.

While Craw focuses on the mechanical work, he receives support from New Life Car Care's volunteers and others in the community.

For example, Craw said his wife, Sherry, helps with the fundraising. These efforts include collecting monetary donations at intersections every April and holding an annual pulled pork dinner.

Volunteers are also needed to handle accounting and bookkeeping, write grant applications, design graphics for promotional materials, and help in other needs.

Craw said New Life Car Care receives discounts and donations of auto supplies from local businesses, as well. He said some of the larger donations have included three cars from the K.C. Summers dealership for people in need and a tow truck from S & S Service Co. for New Life Car Care.

"About everything we do is a group effort," Craw said.

Those interested in making tax deductible donations to New Life Car Care or volunteering can call Craw at 217-273-3161, email, or visit or the nonprofit organization's page on Facebook.

This article originally appeared on

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