Number of Participants: 10
Hours Donated: 4
Value of Time Served: $338
Event Type: Children & Youth
Date: December 14, 2018
Students, staff and administrators at Jonas E. Salk Middle School and General Douglas MacArthur High School gathered together to collect toys this holiday season for children being treated at Columbia Presbyterian Children’s Hospital and their siblings. The toy collection began four years ago as a tribute to former Jonas E. Salk Middle School student Lorenzo Fernandez, who was once was treated by the hospital.
The idea was sparked by Lorenzo’s friend Kara DeBlaiso after his death five years ago from liver cancer and has turned into a Jonas E. Salk Middle School tradition. The toy drive first began at Salk and later expanded to include those from MacArthur High School. Each year, the schools partner with Lorenzo’s organization, Team 20 Friends of Renz and together collect toys to donate to Hope and Heroes, a fundraising organization that supports those with pediatric cancer and blood disorders at Columbia University Medical Center.
Lorenzo’s family and friends, Jonas E. Salk Middle School Principal John Zampaglione and MacArthur High School Principal Joseph Sheehan, filled two trucks with unwrapped toys and traveled into New York City to drop them off at Columbia University Medical Center on Dec. 14. The toy collection was a group effort by students, staff, families, clubs, organizations, sports teams and more.
Lorenzo’s mother Laura Fernandez and family friend Kathy Conigliaro help coordinate the drive with the hospital each year to give back to the hospital and Hope and Heroes, an organization which did so much for Lorenzo and his family while he battled cancer.
“It’s an honor and it means a lot for me to be a part of this,” said Conigliaro. “Lorenzo still brings everybody together.”