Joy. Hope. Life.
Those three words were formed by Willow Creek Community Church members on the church's South Barrington campus this month as part of a groundbreaking for a new $10 million center to house community service programs.
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Expected to be finished in late spring 2013, the Willow Creek Care Center will combine the current care center in Hoffman Estates and the CARS, Christian Auto Repairmen Servicing, ministry in South Elgin into one central location, as well as other services to those in need. The new care center will feature emergency food and clothing assistance, legal advice, employment services and English as a Second Language classes.
It also will have a children's clothing store, a computer lab and multiple classrooms. Eye and dental care services will be provided, and a KidZone will provide a safe place for kids while parents are at the center.
This month's groundbreaking was a celebration for the people who have supported the initiative since talks started in late 2010, Willow Creek spokeswoman Susan DeLay said. A photographer aboard a helicopter captured images of church members forming the words "joy," "hope," and "love," and the photos will be enlarged and framed in the new care center.
"This allows everything to be in one location," DeLay said of the new center.
Members raised the $10 million needed to build the facility, which will include 35,000 square feet of new space and 27,000 square feet of existing space that will be re-purposed.
"It's very cool that we were able to be fully funded before it happened," Delay said. "It's totally a God thing that people are so passionate."
The current care center's food pantry delivered 4 million pounds of food in 2011, according to the church's website. It is the largest food pantry in the Chicagoland area and has a partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository. CARS repairs and gives away cars to qualified individuals.
"It's a helping hand for somebody who needs help getting back on their feet," DeLay said. "It's meeting immediate need; it's hope for the future."