CCAR Industries enhances quality of life for those with disabilities

Cam'ron Hardy, News Editor

Shredded material and newspaper gets dumped onto the conveyor belt to be turned in a bail of paper at CCAR Industries on Friday afternoon. (Ashanti Thomas)

Care, compassion, acceptance, respect; those are the core values for CCAR Industries.

CCAR Industries is non-profit organization whose purpose is to help those with developmental disabilities and/or functional limitations. It is also community based that serves over 10 counties in East Central Illinois.

One of the main ways that it helps the community is by offering nine group homes. Last year, during the 2022 fiscal year, the company aided nearly 300 people, including over 100 children and over 150 adults.

128 of the children served were under the age of three-years-old and 79 adults were between the ages of 41 and 64.

The staff offer medical care and assistance with daily living things.

Angie King, qualified intellectual disability professionals, said that the workers are given offers as to what the workers can do the best, and then eventually they stick with what they can do best.

Angie King explains how the conveyer belt machine extends into the garage, and creates a bale of paper out of the sorted recycled material which can weigh 1500 to 2000 pounds at CCAR Industries on Friday afternoon. (Ashanti Thomas)

The main way that they serve the community is by offering a paper recycling program, titled “The Lincoln Avenue Recycling Program.”

CCAR takes the recyclable products from multiple organizations or donations, then the workers are split into working into three categories: sorting cardboard from paper, tearing pages from bound items, such as books, and the last option is picking-up materials from area businesses and cleaning-up the work area.

CCAR and Eastern Illinois University established a relationship in 1998.

Larry Fisher, assistant executive director of CCAR said Eastern had a mandate to recycle, so Eastern utilized CCAR’s resources.

Fisher said the biggest buyer with recyclable products is cardboard.

Larry Fisher, the assistant executive director at CCAR Industries in Charleston, talks about how the company and EIU work closely together in terms of recycling. (Ashanti Thomas)

Fisher said that China was once the biggest buyer of cardboard in the country but are currently on “shaky terms” with them so they can no longer sell cardboard to them.

“It has plummeted from close to $180 a ton to $35 or $40 a ton, so the wages and the handling in the shipping now have gotten to the point that it costs more to process the cardboard than what we can sell it for,” Fisher said.

While they accept all recyclable materials, when dropping off cardboard, they request donors donate to help pay for the wages of the workers who process the cardboard.

Another way that workers’ wages are paid for is through their daily wages.

Chasity Parker, director of development, explained how the pay works.

“We pay all of the individuals who go through our training programs or day program,” Parker said. “They get paid wages and what we make off of the cardboard paper that we sell.”

After people drop off their recyclable materials, workers separate and clean the materials. Sometimes people bring an extensive number of materials, weighing from 1,200 to 1,400 pounds, according to Fisher.

With the large drop offs, the workers use a bale to crush it down.

Staff use donations and host fundraisers to help pay for the workers wages.

The services offered at CCAR Industries in Charleston. (Ashanti Thomas)

They will be hosting a meat raffle on May 25. Vendors will raffle off different meats that vendors can buy. One ticket will cost $20 and two tickets will cost $30.

Parker said the event will also cover the cost for projects within the program that they can not afford.

The reasoning for the fundraiser is due to the Department of Human Services, DHS, does not cover 12 months of funding.

Parker said usually covers a lot of their support services such as their water and power bills.

For more information, contact 217-348-0127 or on their website at

They are located at 1530 Lincoln Ave.


Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]