The participating CATA members raised $127,000 during the past two summers with the community outreach project, representing 40 percent of funds collected across the country for similar barbecues to support the USO.
Evanston Subaru in Skokie, Illinois, is taking the event one step farther by hosting a USO barbecue every Saturday throughout July from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. with Chicago-style hot dogs, brats and burgers and free car washes while USO members eat.
"I decided to kick it up a notch," Evanston Subaru co-owner and President Rob Paddor told Edmunds. "Our troops do so much for us and the money is given directly to local ones."
Paddor is on the USO of Illinois board and he came up with the idea of approaching CATA about its involvement with the barbecue three years ago.
"It's important to be civic-minded and give back to your community," Paddor said.
It also helps with business. He's sold cars to several USO-associated members and their families.
The USO isn't the only group he's helping Saturday.
His dealership also is holding a free dog wash during the barbecue. For every Fido washed, the dealership will donate $10 to Community Animal Rescue Effort (CARE), a local rescue organization.
"We're only having it between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. because we need to sell some cars on a busy Saturday," he said.
Edmunds says: Firing up a grill can ignite car sales and spread community goodwill.