Walkathon brings Bay Ridge Center one step closer to purchasing new van

September 24, 2012 Editorial Staff
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The alarms on the parked cars went off as members of the Fort Hamilton High School band spearheaded the Bay Ridge Center (BRCOA) walkathon indicating on Saturday that it was time to raise money for its Meals-on-Wheels program and a van to replace the one totaled earlier this year when it was hit by a stolen car.

They “make the noise that attracts everyone’s attention,” said Elizabeth Bohrer, secretary at the center, who was proudly pushing her two grandchildren, Aiden and Amelia, in their stroller.

Lin Tiwen, a member of the center, asked drivers to roll down their windows and contribute to the center’s vital cause, raising approximately $65,000 to replace the wheel-chair accessible van wrecked in March.

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“We’re very thankful to all of our participants,” said Samantha Siegel, coordinator of senior services. “We look forward to purchasing the van.”

The center – which was about halfway to its goal before the walkathon – got closer thanks to the numerous contributions: $10,700 raised during the walkathon, in addition to the $2,030 from checks that were dropped off by generous community members, totaling $12,730.

Among the participants were the Boy Scouts of America, Troop1318 and Pack 518. “We’re here to serve the community,” said Wilson Wong, assistant cub master, “We want to teach these kids about community involvement. Boy Scouting isn’t just about camping.”

Two of Wong’s children, James, 10, and Paul, seven, said they felt good to be doing a good deed. “We share the same location; without the center, we wouldn’t have a place to meet,” added Eugene Cuoco, cub master of the Cub Scouts who meet every Friday evening at the space inside Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

“It’s hard for them to help themselves,” said 15-year-old Zephyr Peck, about the elderly. “It’s wonderful to be charitable.”

Jeffrey Chan, 12, agreed. “The least we can do is help them live happily.”

Teenager Dalise Lashley, joined the crowd for an act of kindness, “They [the seniors] once were us,” Lashley remarked, as she marched, explaining she felt the need to collect as much money as possible. She had come from East Flatbush to assist in any way that she could.

Residents were throwing money from balconies as they saw the center’s crowd walk by and Larry Morrish expressed gratitude through a loudspeaker.

Peter Killen, chair of BRCOA’s advisory board, added his appreciation when the walk was over. “Thank you Bay Ridge for opening up your hearts, and your wallets to help support the meals on wheels program,” he said

“We did good,” exclaimed Marianne Nicolosi, executive director, advising that the next fundraiser will be taking place on December 4, at the Dyker Golf Course, from 6 to 10 p.m. With Bay Ridge Toyota matching up to $15,000 of the proceeds, the center is only about $10,000 away from reaching its goal.

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