Archive for the tag 'charities'

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As of last year, the local Toys for Tots drive has collected 55,430 toys for needy children.

The 41st Assembly District Democratic Club has organized the largest Toys for Tots drive in New York City for eight years straight, and they’re aiming to make it nine this year.

Help keep the title in Southern Brooklyn by bringing new, unwrapped toys to the club tomorrow night, from 7:30pm to 9pm at 2952 Avenue R.

Sandy the Seagull will be in attendance, and there will be food, music and lots and lots of happy kids. Also, plenty of elected officials, if that’s what does it for you.

If you can’t make it but want to make a donation to purchase toys for needy children, send a check to the address listed in the flier above.

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Brrr! It sure is getting cold out there!

While the rest of us bundle up, not all of the neediest in the city’s school system have the means to get a helpful hat or a solid pair of gloves. To help them out, Councilman Chaim Deutsch has launched a hat, scarf and glove drive to bring some warmth this winter.

Hoping it will become an annual effort, the local pol is collecting winter gear specifically for students with disabilities at a local District 75 school. District 75 students are those with severe disabilities, ranging from autism to significantly cognitive delays and physical impairments.

“As the weather gets colder, it is essential that every child has the appropriate protection against the wind and chill,” said Deutsch in a press release. “Please donate new hats, scarves, and gloves to benefit special needs children in our community.”

All donations can be dropped off at Deutsch’s district office at 2401 Avenue U, prior to December 17. For more information, please call 718-368-9176.

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The City Council passed a bill cracking down on illegal clothing donation bins Thursday.

The law – introduced by Councilman Vincent Gentile – penalizes organizations that put drop-off bins on the street with no intention of giving the collected garments to the needy. The bill allows the city to remove the bins immediately, fining first-time violators $250 and repeat offenders $500. Previously the city would post a notice on the illegal bins, giving the owner 30 days to remove them.

The number of complaints about drop-off bins has skyrocketed in the last two years, jumping from 97 reported in 2012 to 2,093 this past June, reports the New York Daily News. Not only are the sketchy bins an eyesore, but many of them are actually scams, selling the garments for a profit overseas.

“These bins are illegal, unsafe, and undermine the efforts of the legitimate charities that actually collect clothing for those in need,” Gentile said in a statement. “This law will impose strict penalties on the shady companies engaging in this illegal practice. I want to thank City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverto and her staff for their diligent work on this issue.”

Clothing bins will also be registered with the city and owners will be required to report how much they collect.

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Seniors, Holocaust survivors and needy locals were treated to baskets overflowing with kosher foodstuffs ahead of Rosh Hashanah as the Be Proud Foundation completed its annual Rosh Hashanah food distribution initiative on Monday.

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The group handed out the baskets at Cherry Hill Gourmet Market (1901 Emmons Avenue) as part of Yad B’Yad, Hebrew for “Hand in Hand,” a charitable event that caters to Jewish people in need. Aside from the scores who attended, the group also hand-delivered the items to homes of area seniors.

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This year’s efforts were larger than previous years, and the baskets were more substantial as well, said Be Proud’s executive director, Raisa Chernina.

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“We were never able to provide gefilte fish, and the challah bread was baked at 5am that morning. It was delightlfully fresh,” said Chernina. “We give what we have.”

Photos courtesy of Be Proud Foundation.

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Correction (September 25): The original version of this article reported the incorrect day of the event, saying it was Sunday. In fact, it was Monday. Additionally, the number of packages distributed was removed because it, too, was erroneous. We regret any confusion this may have caused.

fillmoreFillmore Cares, a charitable group formed by Fillmore Real Estate employees in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, will be in front of the company’s Avenue U headquarters tomorrow, raising money for breast cancer by giving away free(-ish) hot dogs and raffles.

We say “free(-ish)” because you will be asked to make a donation of your choosing to the organization. Here’s how the company’s Howard Witz puts it:

I’m planning on BBQing and giving away FREE* HOT DOGS in front of Fillmore HQ at 2990 Avenue U (corner Batchelder Street) on Friday Sept 5th from 11AM to 3PM (or until supplies last) in support of Fillmore Real Estate’s BREAST CANCER Fundraising effort. A small donation (ANY amount) will be requested. Balloons, A Little Music, and lots of Fun! In addition HOWARD WITZ is having a separate FREE raffle for a 50″ Flat Screen TV… Im enclosing a few docs with info..

For the raffle, there will be a drawing on October 23, at the company’s annual Pink Party to support breast cancer organizations.

Source: Lisa Miller

Source: Lisa Miller

Cyclists finished off the Investors Bank Bike 4 Friendship Tour on Sunday, a 3,000 mile trek that ended in Brighton Beach.

The event kicked off 38 days ago in Los Angeles, led by Brooklynite Yitzy Smith and his six teammates. They crossed the finish line at Ocean Parkway in the early afternoon, completing the fourth annual event that this year raised more than $150,000 for Friendship Circle International, which joins teenage volunteers with children who have special needs.

The team averaged more than 80 miles a day as they crossed desserts, mountains, woods and plains. When they arrived in Livingston, New Jersey, they were joined by nine cross-country cyclists known as the Legends Team, who completed the full trip in previous years.

Update (5:30 p.m.): It looks like Brooklyn Brief was on this story, too, and had a bit more info on the cyclists:

An incredible journey on its own, some of the team members are also BK natives with their own unique personal stories. Yitzy Smith has now completed the trip twice, which is almost unheard of, even in the world of competitive cycling. Aaron Black is one of the youngest riders ever, at age 17. And Mendy Rapoport came all the way from Israel to participate.

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Clothing donation bins are nothing new to the area, although the handful of organizations behind them place them with varying degrees of legality.

One company in particular appears to have thrown caution to the wind, with several placements around Southern Brooklyn that are blatantly illegal. These bins may not be placed on public property, as it is in the photo above, but we’ve seen these pink boxes from Narciso Recycling Company doing just that from here to Bensonhurst.

And it’s not just us. The Manhattan Beach Community Group took notice, too, sending the following note to their members:

In case you haven’t noticed there are a growing number of pink clothing boxes being place in and around Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay and elsewhere. These boxes are illegal, the owners, we are told, take the clothing and sell it!

The Department of Sanitation will remove the boxes. All you have to do is call 311 and report the location of a box you see.

MBCG President Judy Baron told Sheepshead Bites that the bins have been spotted on Shore Boulevard, at a construction site near Girard Street. The one above is on Ocean Avenue and Shore Parkway.

The New York Times looked into these bins earlier this month and found that they were not only illegal, but have become a burden to taxpayers.

A growing number of companies — many of them based in New Jersey — are illegally placing used-clothing bins throughout New York City, blocking sidewalks and serving as magnets for litter and graffiti. The receptacles typically have signs that indicate donated goods will go to the poor or, in some cases, to legitimate charities. But, city officials said, the needy do not benefit from much of what is collected. Instead, the clothing is often sold in thrift stores or in bulk overseas, with the proceeds going to for-profit entities that can be impossible to trace, or even to contact.

“They have become the bane of our existence,” Kathryn Garcia, the city’s sanitation commissioner, said. “We have seen a significant uptick in the number of clothing bins placed illegally on public sidewalks. A dramatic increase.”

City law bans such bins from being placed on sidewalks and streets; they are legal on private property with the consent of the owner.

We do want to note that not all companies place their bins illegally. As the excerpt above notes, if it’s placed on private property, it’s okay – although it’s up to donors to determine if their clothing will go to a good cause.

City Councilman Vincent Gentile introduced legislation earlier this month that could expedite their removal, and see the companies fined for placing it on public land.

Rabbi Yaakov Weingarten

Yaakov Weingarten (Source: vosizneias.com)

A Brooklyn Supreme Court judge ordered Midwood Rabbi Yaakov Weingarten and his wife, Rivka, to pay more than $520,000 for setting up phony not-for-profit organizations claiming to benefit Israel and then using the donations as their personal piggy bank.

The Weingartens were busted last summer, accused of operating a call center out of 1493 Coney Island Avenue in Midwood to raise millions of dollars through 19 separate charities. The scammers claimed the funds would go to programs in Israel or to religious activities. But prosecutors say the charities never existed, and the funds instead went to Weingarten and his family.

Weingarten, 53, withdrew more than $2 million from the charity bank accounts between 2007 and 2013, prosecutors said. They used the funds to pay for mortgages on their two homes, remodeiling expenses, personal vehicles, video rentals, dental visits and even a trip to Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. They attempted to hide their shenanigans by transferring funds between the non-profit accounts. It appears the setup was too difficult for even the Weingartens to keep track of; they bounced more than 2,100 checks, resulting in more than $65,000 in donations being wasted on bank overdraft fees.

On Wednesday, the judge ordered the Weingartens to forfeit $522,315 as part of a civil judgement. Approximately $360,000 of those funds will go to two Israeli charitable organizations that carry out actual programs similar to the ones Weingarten claimed during his phony fundraising pitches to donors: the Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, the preeminent pediatric hospital in Israel, and United Hatzalah of Israel, a leading Israeli volunteer emergency medical services organization.

Weingarten previously pleaded guilty to felony tax fraud, allowing him to escape time behind bars. However, he and his associates, Simon Weiss and David Yifat, are barred from any fundraising or charitable activites in the state of New York. He also faces five years probation, and has already paid $90,685 in restitution as part of the criminal charges.

The judge ordered the dissolution of 11 actual non-profits used by Weingarten, as well as eight that existed in name only. They are as follows:

  • Hatzalah Rescue of Israel, Inc.;
  • Shearim, Inc.;
  • Bnei Torah, Inc.;
  • Chesed L’Yisrael V’Chasdei Yosef, Inc.;
  • Yad L’Shabbat, Inc.;
  • Hatzalah Shomron, Inc.;
  • Pulse Foundation, Inc.;
  • Agudath Chesed Bikur Cholim Israel, Inc.;
  • Kupat Reb Meir Baal Haness Bnei Torah Eretz Yisrael, Inc.;
  • Congregation Yad L’Shabbat, Inc.;
  • Shearim Hayad L’Torah Center for Hatzalah L’Shabbat and Chesed L’Yisrael, Inc.;
  • Israel Emergency Center;
  • Magen Israel;
  • Hayad Victim Assistance Fund;
  • Lmaan Hatorah;
  • Our Children;
  • Zaka Israel;
  • Yaldel Simcha Yisrael;
  • Yad Yisrael.

“We are committed to fighting to protect everyday New Yorkers, particularly those who want to use some of their hard-earned money to support charitable causes, because there has to be one set of rules for everyone,” Attorney General Schneiderman said via press release. “My office will use all the tools at our disposal to protect New Yorkers from unscrupulous fundraisers for sham charities.”

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Joe Gilette, organizer of the Bergen Beachh, Mill Basin and Marine Park chapter of Relay for Life, sent us a note and some photos of this year’s event, in which they raised approximately $100,000 for the American Cancer Society during their June 7 event.

Gilette writes:

We recently held our 3rd annual Relay for Life on June 7th. I am proud to say we expect our final tally this [year is] to total $100,000!! We owe a great deal of success to our FIGHT BACK WITH FITNESS program in which we brought volunteer fitness instructors into over 24 schools to hold fitness classes. This was all in furtherance of our agenda of spreading cancer awareness and prevention through the positive message of fitness and a healthy lifestyle.

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By comparison, the 2012 Relay for Life event brought in $50,000.

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Featuring live entertainment, food, raffles, and a variety of interactive and fun activities for the whole family, community members form teams and walk around Aviator Sports Center’s outdoor track for eight continuous hours, symbolically conveying their message that, until there is a cure, the fight against cancer never ends. It’s highlighted by the Luminaria Ceremony, in which paper bags decorated by neighborhood children are illuminated in memory of loved ones who have passed away from cancer.

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The whopping $100,000 total is in addition to the $20,000 the group raised by putting together Brooklyn SINGS!, an inter-school SING! competition that pitted Murrow, Midwood and Madison high school students against each other for a good cause and bragging rights. The events Gilette organizes just keeps getting more diverse. Last year he also helped put together the world’s largest indoor zumba class, with more than 400 people participating.

Keep up the good work for a good cause!

To learn more about the Bergen Beach, Mill Basin & Marine Park Relay for Life, contact Nancy Colt of the American Cancer Society at (718) 622-2492 extension 5134 or visit their website.

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tete

The folks over at Tete-a-Tete Cafe (2601 East 14th Street) are teaming up with the Shorefront Y, the Kings Bay Y, the JCC of Bensonhurst and several other organizations to help raise money for area children with special needs.

From now until June 8 – exactly one month from today – the cafe will be donating 50 cents from the sale of every medium-sized latte or cappuccino.

The funds will go towards the Brooklyn Autism Spectrum Disorder Initiative (BASDI) Fourth Annual Walk for Autism, which takes place on June 8 at 11 a.m. along the Riegelmann Boardwalk. The walk helps raise money for free programs for kids diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, helping Southern Brooklyn families who struggle with the financial burden required to meet their kids’ special needs.

Aside from buying some java, you can register to participate in the walk itself ($10), or donate money through the Shorefront Y’s website.

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