An upcoming Orland Park car show will sport some fancy vehicles and help fund programs meant to enrich area teens.
The Bridge Teen Center is teaming up with Chick-fil-A in Orland Park for the show, which will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday outside the restaurant, at 16505 S. La Grange Road. The event will also include music, a prize wheel, split-the-pot and trophies for car owners in five categories. Admission is free.
Local car clubs and individual owners will show their cars. The event, in its third year, has included vehicles from the Frankfort Car Club and A's R Us Model A Club, the Chicago Southland chapter of the Model A Ford Club of America.
Proceeds from a percentage of food sales during the show will go to programs at the teen center, 15555 S. 71st Court. The Bridge is a nonprofit organization that sponsors free after-school programs for seventh through 12th graders in 83 communities.
The center has had a relationship with the restaurant for several years. Chick-fil-A donates chicken nugget samples for the center's after-school programs and weekend events.
"The Bridge is approached by many restaurants who want to do 'percentage nights,' but in most cases, events like that tend to be very one-sided," said Nicole Donnelly, program and marketing associate for the center. "Chick-fil-A has always gone above and beyond to make sure the event truly benefits the Bridge and is not just a way to boost sales on a weekday night."
Priscilla Steinmetz, co-founder of the teen center with husband Rob, said she was drawn to the restaurant before it even opened in Orland. Steinmetz met Kevin Bulmann, the Orland franchise's owner/operator, several years ago at an Orland Park Chamber of Commerce event and told him about the center's goal of trying to positively influence teens and instill leadership through its programs.
"Kevin was like, 'I love that, I want to be a part of it,'" said Steinmetz, who attended the franchise's groundbreaking in April 2010. "Taking the time to give back to the next generation is very important, and I think that resonated with him. It's been a great partnership ever since."
Steinmetz is executive director of the Bridge, and her husband is director of marketing. She said she was impressed by the restaurant's dedication to the community.
"I just think the organization is a very service-minded company, and I think they're really committed to their communities," she said. "They don't only talk about it but follow it up with action, and they have for us."
Bulmann said he was equally thrilled to work with the center. He said the car show had helped the center raise more than $2,000 to help fund its programs.
"The Bridge provides an amazing after-school service to our youth to give them an enriching and nourishing environment that can really help them grow in mind, body and soul," said Bulmann. "It's a needed service here in the southwest suburbs, and the entire team at the Bridge are exceptional people."
The restaurant holds family nights, with fun activities; spirit nights, when organizations can do fundraising and receive a percentage of sales; and a schools program to support area schools, according to its website. The Orland franchise has provided more than $175,000 in food donations to community groups, including local schools, Relay for Life, youth sports leagues, vacation Bible schools, Orland Township events and Boy Scout groups.
More information about the car show is available by calling 708-532-0500 or online at thebridgeteencenter.org.