Schepel Auto Group provided major financial support for Franciscan Health’s Prenatal Assistance Program, which helps mothers and infants in need. The Franciscan Health Foundation honored the Merrillville auto dealership for its donations, gifting the automotive group with a banner to display in its Shepel Cadillac showroom.
Franciscan Health Foundation Board Chairman Joe Allegretti was a customer who asked the dealer if he would sponsor the foundation’s annual fundraising gala.
“It just evolved from there,” Allegretti said. “I asked if they would be willing to help support the prenatal assistance program and they helped two years ago, then last year they made two donations, (one of them) unsolicited. They’re just good people.
Franciscan Health launched the Prenatal Assistance Program in Crown Point in 2002, expanding to Hammond last year and Rensselaer and Michigan City this year. It provides pregnancy education, counseling, peer support and resources such as access to public assistance.
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Ryan VanProoyen, the new car sales manager for Schepel Cadillac, said the auto group’s corporate values include supporting such community causes.
“We have been truly touched by what Franciscan and Joe are doing for the community, for this cause for the kingdom of God and how they are working to reach those most in need,” VanProoyen said. “The community has been so supportive of us and for us it’s always been about more than selling cars. It’s important to reach people in their day-to-day lives. We have so many long-time customers like Joe. It’s really a gift and we have to give it back to the community.
The Prenatal Assistance Program also offers a pantry that provides diapers, wipes, formula, and other baby supplies to help struggling families. Diapers can cost upwards of $1,000 a year, and many families end up missing work because they don’t have the disposable diapers needed to put their kids in daycare.
Schepel Auto Group helped Franciscan buy baby wipes and formula.
“Even during the shortage, the Prenatal Assistance Program team was able to find a formula for mothers facing financial hardship with the help of Schepel,” said Franciscan Health Foundation Executive Director Rick Peltier. “We all know the auto industry had its own challenges with supply chain issues impacting sales, but they keep giving. We can’t thank them enough for their generosity.
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