Uncle Buck’s Holiday Fundraiser For Disabled Veterans Was A Rousing Success
Frank Pileggi, Jr. aka Uncle Buck does a food drive for Orange County’s disabled veterans every year. He does it because he remembers not having food when he was a child. He now gives back to our veterans who deserve the help but are unable to provide for their families.
Uncle Buck’s 2016 food and toy drive almost didn’t happen because WTBQ Station Manager Taylor Sterling had one of her infamous Joan Crawford/Mommie Dearest episodes.
Sterling threw the contents of Uncle Buck’s collection tub to the street. She then locked the door before Uncle Buck could grab his tub. Word soon spread throughout the Hudson Valley of Sterling’s psychotic behavior. Consequently, long time WTBQ listeners called for a boycott of the station’s advertisers.
Sterling was apparently upset that Uncle Buck worked with me and Dominick for his 2015 food drive. She also didn’t like that we convinced the owner of WALL Radio to give us nearly 20 hours worth of free airtime for PSAs promoting the food drive.
It appeared Uncle Buck would not be having his food drive for the holidays.
The Difference Between Mediocrity And Success Is Extra Effort
Uncle Buck reached out to me and Dominick Sammarone after the incident with Taylor Sterling. Uncle Buck was beside himself worrying about the families of the disabled veterans. He knew we could help him after the success we had with his food drive in 2015.
The three of us decided to do things different this year. We went directly to grocery stores and asked for food and we also raised money. In addition, Dominick and I also contacted retail companies requesting toys and gift cards.
Robert Perri DDS in Warwick donated cases of toothpaste and toothbrushes. This is something local disabled vets say they need but no one donates.
We also decided to extend the fundraiser from the usual 45 days to 60 days. This was to accommodate companies wanting to get caught up on their year-end giving.
Our first deadline was Thanksgiving and it was less than two weeks away. We sprung into action. I started hammering the internet. Dominick did what he does best. He began pitching the fundraiser like Jordan Belfort from The Wolf Of Wall Street fame. In addition, Uncle Buck did personal appearances while still recovering from bronchial pneumonia.
Success From The Ashes Of Adversity
Our initial efforts paid off. The three of us were able to serve Thanksgiving dinner to 75 families of disabled veterans when Thanksgiving arrived.
We didn’t rest on our laurels. The three of us kept working it and it paid off. We raised $3,500 with a GoFundMe page. In addition, the Knights of Columbus in Monroe and American Legion Post 1167 received donations from our efforts. Furthermore, the VFW Hall #8858 and the Disabled Veterans of Orange received donations from people needing a tax deduction.
In all, nearly 100 businesses in the Central Valley rallied around Uncle Buck. We had to turn Uncle Buck’s 2-car garage into a food pantry and toy warehouse thanks to major retailers like Sam’s Club, Shop-Rite and Toys R’ Us.
In total, we raised over $10,000 in food, toys, and cash for the disabled veterans in Orange County. Dominick posted the names of all the businesses and individuals who donated on his Facebook page.
THANK YOU, EVERYONE!