NYSSCPA chapters give back for the holiday season

By:
CHRIS GAETANO
Published Date:
Jan 10, 2014
NYSSCPA members throughout the state took the time to give back to their communities this holiday season, through a series of fund-raisers and charity drives that benefitted various organizations.

Many chapters contributed to Toys for Tots, a nonprofit run by the U.S. Marine Corps that distributes new and unused toys to needy children across the country.

The Manhattan/Bronx Chapter, for example, held a Toys for Tots collection on Dec. 4 at the Manhattan sports bar Midtown 1015. The social event, which was run as a fund-raiser rather than a toy drive, drew more than 60 people and raised $1,500 for the charitable organization, according to Manhattan/Bronx Chapter President Barbara A. Marino.

Noting that it is the chapter’s seventh year putting on such an event, Marino acknowledged the contributions of the Manhattan/Bronx Young CPAs Committee, particularly co-chairs Michael E. Shuster and Jordan S. Frey, who searched for the right venue, obtained sponsorships and promoted the fund-raiser.

The Northeast Chapter held a Toys for Tots event of its own at the Recovery Sports Grill in Colonie on Dec. 5. Besides NYSSCPA members, the chapter invited other young professionals throughout the area; admission was free with the donation of an unwrapped toy. Amanda M. Russell, co-chair of the Northeast Young CPAs Committee, which coordinated the event, said chapter members were able to collect two full shopping carts worth of gifts.

“We had a better turnout than we had in the previous year, and saw a lot of new faces in the crowd!” Russell said.
On Dec. 5, the Mid Hudson Chapter held a charitable holiday mixer, gathering at the Powelton Club in Newburgh. The cap-off to an ongoing Toys for Tots drive that started in November, it drew 57 attendees, according to Magda V. Reyes, chair of the chapter’s Young CPAs Committee. Reyes said the event also had the enthusiastic participation of local firms; the chapter secured so many sponsorships from them that the mixer was put on for free. In the end, chapter members were able to raise $1,209 and, according to Reyes, “tons and tons of toys.”

Suffolk Chapter members, meanwhile, had their Toys for Tots collection on Dec. 13. Cynthia D. Barry, a past Suffolk Chapter president and one of the event’s coordinators, said they were able to collect 125 boxes of toys, a haul that needed to be collected by 20 marines. Barry said the chapter was fortunate to have had so many eager participants this year, since volunteers were needed to obtain boxes from grocery stores, assemble and wrap them, coordinate the collection efforts at each location, shop for toys and arrange the collection for the Marines.

Established in 1995, the Suffolk Chapter Toys for Tots program has grown tremendously since it first began, Barry said—so much so that the Marines have had to change their method of pick up along the way. Years ago, they arrived with a five-ton truck, she said. That later turned into a seven-ton truck and “now they come fully prepared with a tractor trailer.” She added that the chapter’s effort has also grown to encompass drop-off sites in Nassau, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan as well as Suffolk County.

The Buffalo Chapter held its first annual Christmas fundraiser on Dec. 3, collecting $150 for the Hunter’s Hope Foundation. Hunter’s Hope seeks to call attention to, and support research for, Krabbe Disease, a degenerative and often fatal nerve condition. The event offered good networking opportunities for attendants, and led to several recruitments for the Society from local firms, according to Ashley D. Blecha, a member of the chapter’s Young CPAs Committee. In addition, Blecha said, the chapter also provides gift wrapping at the local mall during the holidays to benefit Autism Services Inc., an organization committed to treating, educating and caring for people with autism spectrum disorders.

The Rochester Chapter’s charity event benefitted the Flower City Habitat for Humanity. Held at a local restaurant, the Tap & Table, on Dec. 3, the networking social featured food, drink and a 50/50 raffle. The chapter’s Young CPAs Committee also invited other groups of young professionals, including those representing lawyers, realtors, architects and civil engineers, according to member Matthew Taylor. He said the chapter was able to raise $500 at the event, and had collected $20,000 throughout the year for Habitat for Humanity.

“The [chapter’s] goals are to promote relevant training and professional networking and spotlight Rochester grass-roots companies and local charities,” Taylor said. “We think the Rochester Flower City Habitat for Humanity encompasses the last three, so [it’s] a good fit.”

Finally, the Nassau Chapter had a holiday charity event on Dec. 12 at Jewel in Melville. The networking event benefitted the Ronald McDonald House charity, and gathered not only money but food and household supplies for needy families in the area.

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