Franciscan Health Foundation last week honored Schepel Auto Group for its generous donations to the Prenatal Assistance Program to help local mothers and infants in need.
Franciscan Health Foundation Board Chairman Joe Allegretti and Franciscan Health Foundation Executive Director Rick Peltier presented the auto group with a banner to display in the Schepel Cadillac showroom honoring its major gifts to the program.
Allegretti is a longtime Schepel Cadillac customer and first approached the dealership’s leadership about sponsorship for the annual Foundation gala several years ago.
“It just evolved from there,” Allegretti said. “I asked if they’d be willing to help support the Prenatal Assistance Program and they helped two years ago, then last year, they made two donations, (one of which was) unsolicited. They’re just good people.”
Ryan VanProoyen, new car sales manager for Schepel Cadillac, said the donations are in line with the auto group’s corporate values.
“We were really moved by what Franciscan and Joe are doing for the community, for this cause for God’s kingdom and the way they’re working to reach those who need it most,” VanProoyen said. “The community has supported us so much and for us, it has always been about more than selling cars. It’s important to reach people in their everyday lives. We have so many longtime customers like Joe. That’s really a gift and we need to give that back to the community.”
The Prenatal Assistance Program began in Crown Point in 2002. In 2021, the program expanded to Hammond and in 2022, grew to include Rensselaer and Michigan City. The program provides a variety of services including pregnancy education, counseling, peer support and enhanced access to public assistance programs, community services and local hospital programs. The program also provides assistance through the Diaper Pantry, which provides diapers, wipes, formula, bottles and other supplies to qualifying families in need.
Nearly one in three families struggles to afford diapers, which can cost more than $1,000 a year. As many as 57% of families with diaper insecurity report missing school or work because they do not have diapers needed to send their children to childcare.
Peltier thanked VanProoyen and the Schepel Cadillac leadership for continuing their generous gifts to support the program. In 2021, Schepel Auto Group subsidized the purchase of baby wipes to distribute with diapers collected during the annual Diaper Drive and also assisted in buying baby formula during the pandemic and beyond.
“Even during the shortage, the Prenatal Assistance Program team was able to find formula for mothers facing financial struggles with the help of Schepel,” Peltier said. “We all know the auto industry had its own challenges with supply chain issues impacting sales yet they are still giving. We can’t thank them enough for their generosity.”
Anyone interested in donating to the Franciscan Health Foundation’s Prenatal Assistance Fund may do so online at thislink. More information about the program is available online at this link or by calling the Franciscan Health Foundation at (219) 661-3401.