Toys for Kids
Pictured above is Batavia chiropractor Dr. Tom Mazurkiewicz and his secretary Brittany Moretti, who are continuing the legacy of Don Carroll.
Mazurkiewicz along with Beth and Brian Kemp from T-Shirts Etc. have joined together to host the annual Toy Drive for Kids at his office, Mazurkiewicz Family Chiropractic 184 Washington Ave., Batavia, this Saturday from 9 to 11:30 a.m.
Tom has been involved for more than 25 years helping Don, who asked him to carry the tradition for him and keep it going in his memory. Mazurkiewicz said that anytime between now (during office hours) until the close of Monday, donors are welcome to bring in an unwrapped toys for ages 2 to 15.
If you come to the event this Saturday, he will offer a free chiropractic adjustment at no charge.
Local nurses from Batavia and Oakfield school districts have provided names of 52 children who will receive the gifts at a private party that is hosted by the Kemps.
For questions, call (585) 343-9316.
Start & Finish Line: Bank & Main near the Senior Center
Ready, set, go! Join the 5K Run/Fun Walk starting at 6:15 Saturday afternoon to benefit Donald R. Carroll's Toys for Kids program. The 5K is in conjunction with historic Downtown's Summer in the City.
All proceeds help make Christmas wishes come true for disadvantaged children in our community.
Check out the Web site at DonCarrollrace.com to register online. The first 75 entries get a T-shirt.
Preregistration is $20. High school students pay $10 (no shirt giveaway). On race day, registration is $25 and you can register from 3 to 6 p.m. at Bank and Main streets near the Senior Center.
The course is certified to be accurate by USA Track & Field ( #NY06914KL). The Start Line (6:15 p.m. SHARP) is Main and Bank by the Senior Center. The Finish Line is there also.
Trophies will be awarded to the best overall male and female; and first-, second- and third-place trophies by age category. There will be no duplicate winners.
Afterward, there will be a 31st Anniversary Party Extravaganza, free for all participants with race numbers, and guests are welcome for a $5 donation. The party will feature music and dancing, chicken BBQ, turkey dogs, yogurt, freshly sliced fruit, ice cold water, and a beer coupon.
Sponsors of the event are:
- T-Shirts, Etc.
- Southside Deli
- That Taco Place
- Wortzman Furniture
- Jerry Arena's Pizzeria
- Center Street Smoke House
- Clor's Meat Market
- Amputee Treatment Center
- Max Pies Furniture
- Grace Baptist Church
- The Insurance Center
- Coffee Culture
- The Enchanted Florist
- Downtown Batavia Business District
- Lays Potato Chips
- The Batavian
Joy Hale is this year's winner of the annual Don Carroll's Toys for Kids lottery ticket basket raffle. The basket contained more than $200 in scratchers and gift certificates (not counting potential winnings, of course). Hale's ticket was drawn by Jeff Heubusch, owner of Southside Deli, who donated the lottery tickets. Above, Carroll, left, and Heubusch.
One of Genesee County's most generous residents, a man who has helped numerous families in times of need, is facing a serious challenge of his own.
Don Carroll was diagnosed in April with cancer of the esophagus. He has undergone two radiation treatments, awaits a third, and is about to start chemotherapy.
"Don has supported so many people over the years," said Jerry Foster, his sixth-grade teacher, lifelong friend and helper with Don's various charity efforts, including the annual 5K run and Toys for Kids.
"He's raised thousands of dollars for college scholarships, camp scholarships, Toys for Kids. If everybody could keep him in their thoughts and prayers and do what they can. Don wouldn't ask for that. He wouldn't ask for anything for himself, but he's going to need help, especially when the medical bills start coming in."
There has hardly been a time in Carroll's life that he hasn't helped others. The 1974 graduate of Oakfield-Alabama High School was an orphan who found a home in Genesee County. Shortly after graduation, Carroll starting raising money, a project that continued for 23 years, to send kids to YMCA summer camp.
In the late 1990s, Carroll switched his focus to raising funds for college scholarships and organized annual 5K and 10K runs as fundraisers.
More recently, Carroll has headed up Toys for Kids, a secret-Santa program for the area's children who might not otherwise receive Christmas presents.
In 1997, Carroll was named Geneseean of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce and he was inducted into the O-A Hall of Fame three years ago.
Foster said Carroll remains in great spirits.
"He knows everything is going to work out," Foster said. "He knows he's going to be at the 5K race (this summer). He has a very positive attitude."
Carroll hasn't worked since April 19 and isn't expected to be back on his feet for several more weeks.
Even so, he's continuing to do what he can for Toys for Kids, sending out emails to sponsors and helping to organize run for this summer.
The office at Birchwood Village Apartments, 88 Dewey Ave., Batavia, is selling candy bars for $1.50 as a fundraiser for Carroll and a chicken BBQ is being planned, but no other fundraisers have been set yet, Foster said.
Donations for Carroll can be sent to Jerry Foster at 20 River St., Batavia, NY 14020.
People who would like to know more about Carroll's medical progress can sign up for Care Bridge. Foster asked that visitors sign the guestbook and leave messages, which Foster prints out and brings to Carroll.
"They mean a lot to him," he said.
Santa was at Grace Baptist Church on Saturday afternoon for Don Carroll's Toys for Kids event. About 20 families attended, with the boys and girls getting pizza and cupcakes and then being entertained while their parents loaded their cars with the toys and gifts provided by the charity.
Bottom photo, Don Carroll, shaking hands with Santa, with the rest of the organizing committee, Beth Kemp, left, Brian Kemp and Jeff Bartz.
One of the big fundraisers for Don Carroll's Toys for Kids charity is a raffle for a giant gift basket of lottery tickets. Saturday, Carroll had Coffee Culture's Danielle Phelps draw the winning ticket. The winner was Jim and Sandy Foster of Mocksville, North Carolina.
Next Saturday, Santa arrives in town to provide families served by Carroll's charity with presents and pizza.
Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011
Clor's 4169 West Main St., Batavia, NY
Chicken or ribs plus choice of two homemade sides.
11:00 am until sold out.
$9.00 - Proceeds to benefit Donald R. Carroll's Toys for Kids Fund.
The 30th annual Donald R. Carroll Run/Fun Walk will be held at 5 p.m. sharp on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011 as part of the activities scheduled for the 2011 Summer in the City.
Registration will take place from 2 p.m.. until 4:50 p.m. in Jackson Square the day of the run/walk. Registration forms will be available online at doncarrollrace.com. The entry fee is $20 prior to the run/walk and $25 the day of the event.
The race/walk will start and end at Wendy's on Main Street in Batavia.
The first 200 individuals with paid registrations will receive race/walk T-shirts. A post run/walk party will be in Jackson Square following the event where participants will be treated to a chicken bbq, hot dogs, fruit, munchies, water and soda.
Friends and guests may also attend the run/walk post party by making a $5 donation. Music and dancing will also be available.
Proceeds from the run/walk will go toward Don Carroll's Toys for Kids campaign. Anyone interested in volunteering the day of the race may contact Don Carroll at email@example.com.
Santa is visiting Clor's Meat Market, at Lewiston and Main streets in Batavia, today until 5 p.m. There's also a chicken BBQ available and donors are asked to bring non-perishable food items for Don Carroll's Toys for Kids Toys and Food Drive.
Above, Hailey, 5, and Noah, 2, get a chance to let Santa know what they want for Christmas.
Families arrived yesterday at the Batavia YMCA around noon to kick things off at the annual Toys for Kids Christmas event. The children played together in the gym while parents snuck away to receive some secret extra gifts. Up on the third floor, a room was filled with large, black garbage bags discretely holding toys for Christmas morning.
Pictured above are five children with Don Carroll and Santa Claus. From left to right, Luvena Wagner, age 3, Giovanni Smart, 5, Bianca Jackson, 9, and Blayke Jackson. In front is Lillian Smart, age 3.
Luvena's mother, Christina Wagner, especially appreciates the event in these tough financial times.
"One of my friends was telling me about it," she said. "Her mom was helping with it and she knows that I don't have a job right now. She knew I didn't have much money, so they invited me."
Saturday's shopping spree played out just as event coordinator, Don Carroll, had planned. This year, Carroll raised money and purchased over $7,000 worth of gifts for 120 lucky children. When I asked him what makes this charity event so successful, he gave credit to the fact that it is something he puts effort into all year long.
"What separates what I do from a lot of other places is that they wait until it's time for the holidays," he said. "That's probably why they don't raise as much money. I'm going to be collecting donations again in a couple weeks and it's going to be all the way until this time next year."
Volunteer Lori Wendt says clear organization is also key to event's success.
"A few weeks ago, parents were asked to submit a list of items their kids wanted for Christmas," Wendt said. "That way, Don and the other volunteers would know what to get them. It was so organized.
"We all got our lists with a couple families, and my husband and I went around picking up the gifts. It was fun, and it was fun to know that kids would get what they want."
After playing in the gym, all of the children came up to the room on the third floor where they were served a lunch of pizza, soda pop and holiday cookies.
Good old Saint Nick made an appearance at 1 o'clock when he made his way around the room to have a word with each and every child. The kids were excited to see him and couldn't wait for their moment to talk with him.
After having a turn speaking with each of the children, it was time for Santa Claus to hand out some gifts. (But first, he helped this little girl with her boot laces.)
Each child received one gift at the event. Four lucky kids received iPods as a special gift from the Sheriff's Department.
Look for donation jars and other events throughout the year that sponsor the Toys for Kids charity to support the cause next year.
Santa's helpers were at the YMCA this afternoon to help Don Carroll and Santa get ready to distribute gifts tomorrow to local children. Carroll said more than $6,000 in toys will be distributed and that he had enough candy for every child in Batavia.
As a parent, it feels good to be able to give your children the gifts they want on Christmas. Unfortunately, not all families have the means to do this, especially in these hard economic times.
Luckily, there are people like Don Carroll who are here to look out for these children. He started Toys For Kids seven years ago as a way of "paying it forward."
“I lost my parents when I was 5 and people were very generous to me and my sister at Christmas time," Carroll said. "That’s something I never forgot. So, that’s why I do it.”
He collects money year round to plan for the holiday season. He has been collecting gifts, monetary donations, and has even been getting some help from a collection jar full of change at Clor’s Meat Market. Each year he organizes a solid routine to prepare for the toy drive.
“The way our program is set up is that we go shopping with the money that has been donated. This year we’re probably going to spend a little over $7,000 on buying gifts for the kids. Then we’ll wrap all of the presents the day before. On Sunday, the 20th we invite the families to the Y at noon and we have Santa Claus come, and we provide a hot meal and we give out the gifts. We give out some of the gifts there and we give gifts to the parents to give to the kids at Christmas time."
This year, there are more families in need than ever, so all donations are graciously accepted.
“We’ve helped a lot of people like mothers who have a lot of kids or grandmothers who are raising their grandkids, and there are working parents who don’t make a lot of money. We get the names of the families from schools, churches and the YMCA.”
If you’re not able to donate gifts or money to the cause, you are welcome to donate your time. The event is expected to be pretty large and all volunteers can be put to good use.
“We’re putting out a sign-up list that’s going to be at the Y for people who want to help us wrap gifts on the 19th. Also, on the 20th we’ll need people to help parents put gifts in their cars and we’ll need help serving food.”
All gifts and cash donations will be accepted at the Batavia YMCA until Saturday, Dec. 19. Checks can be made out to the YMCA including “Toys for Kids” on the memo line. Anyone who is interested in volunteering their time can sign up there also.
The YMCA is located at 209 E. Main St. Phone is 344-1664.