“There is no greater disability in society than the inability to see a person as more.”

– Robert M. Hensel

Northwest Indiana is home to organizations that do see people as more and focus on helping the differently abled members of our community realize their full potential. Two of those nonprofit agencies will be the beneficiaries of Strack & Van Til’s next Checkout Challenge Round Up.

From July 10-23, customers across the Region can choose to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar when shopping at their local Strack & Van Til store. The extra funds from stores in Lake County will be donated to TradeWinds, and Opportunity Enterprises will receive funds from Strack & Van Til Porter County locations.

Since 1967, more than 15,000 children and adults with special needs have benefited from the many programs and services offered by TradeWinds in Merrillville.

“Our dedicated professionals help our clients overcome their challenges by encouraging them to develop new skills and competencies while working toward a level of self-sufficiency and independence,” says Lisa Tatina, Director of Development & Marketing and Director of Employment Services. “It is because of the generosity of companies like Strack & Van Til that TradeWinds can continue to make a difference for people with special needs by empowering them to realize their full potential.”

Services include TradeWinds Deaf Services, Adult Day Activity Program and Training (ADAPT), Pre-vocational/Training for adults of all abilities age 18  and older, Employment Services, supervised Residential Group Homes, Supported Living, respite for caregivers by fully trained staff, child care and therapy, youth programs and more.

Tatina adds that Strack & Van Til has been supporting TradeWinds for 25 years. “Not only do we benefit from this Checkout Challenge, but they also help us throughout the year. They contribute to TradeWinds for the children’s summer camp and functional skills summer camp as well as donate to our food pantry. The funds from Checkout Challenge are important to the services TradeWinds provides,” she explains.

According to its website, Opportunity Enterprises (OE), founded in 1967, is recognized as one of the premier agencies serving those with disabilities. OE is “a nonprofit organization that strives to help individuals with developmental disabilities reach their fullest potential and live a full, enriching life.”

The Valparaiso-based organization serves children and adults with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, cognitive delays, traumatic brain injuries, severe physical and mental disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, loss of limbs and other delays and disabilities. It offers a supportive environment where people with disabilities can learn and increase their skills.

Essential services such as daily living skills, transportation, residential group homes, supported living, respite care and more are offered at OE. Others including Renewed Horizons, a program for individuals 50 or older who have been diagnosed with a disability or Alzheimer’s, and JobSource, which identifies employment opportunities that fulfill individuals with disabilities’ vocational goals and aspirations, are also available.

“Strack & Van Til is a valued partner with OE, having provided employment in 19 locations for over 100 individuals in the past five years,” notes OE Chief Development and Communication Officer Kacie Ensign. “Opportunity Enterprises is thrilled to be the recipient of Strack & Van Til’s Checkout Challenge again this year.”

Ensign adds that since 2017, Strack & Van Til’s Checkout Challenge has raised nearly $75,000 to support OE’s mission to create inclusive and equitable opportunities for people of all abilities.

“OE cannot thank Strack & Van Til employees and its customers enough for supporting OE’s mission. Strack & Van Til’s culture of philanthropy permeates through their entire organization, and we are extremely grateful for the store’s cashiers who take time to learn about OE in order to help raise awareness and support for Opportunity Enterprises,” states Ensign. “We simply could not do what we do without community support, and Strack & Van Til customers prove time and time again that they care about their community and give a little each trip to make a big difference.”

The Checkout Challenge continues Strack & Van Til’s more than 93-year tradition of philanthropy by raising funds to help organizations in the communities it serves throughout Northwest Indiana. The grocery store chain is proud to say that in 2022 its program raised a total of $574,110.

Strack & Van Til President and CEO Jeff Strack credits the success of the Checkout Challenge Round Ups to customer generosity and the commitment of Strack & Van Til employees.

“Giving back to the communities we serve is just naturally a part of Strack & Van Til’s culture. We are very grateful to our customers who contribute to these Round Up campaigns and make a difference in the lives of so many people,” Strack says. “Our customers are the best. They are the ones who give back to the community. Our stores, with the help of our employees, simply provide our customers with an outlet to donate to some of their favorite local organizations.”

Help make the lives of those with challenges a little easier. Simply take part in Strack & Van Til’s current Checkout Challenge Round Up and support the programs provided by TradeWinds and Opportunity Enterprises.

To discover services available through TradeWinds, visit For information on resources offered by Opportunity Enterprises, visit, and learn more about Strack & Van Til’s community involvement, visit