Ski's Open Heart Foundation will hold its first toy drive in honor of Mark "Ski" Gajewski at Canz-a-Citi Roadhouse in Patchogue on Tuesday.
Ski, who lived in East Patchogue and volunteered for three months at Ground Zero after 9/11, died last December from a rare form of lung cancer. The foundation was created by Ski's children and wife "to aid the heroes of 9-11 who selflessly helped rescue Americans on that day, recovered bodies of loved ones, and worked at a hazardous site for months to clean-up after the attack."
The toy drive Tuesday, to be held from 7-11 p.m., is meant to continue a tradition that Ski had of donating both his time and money to local charities during the holidays, according to his daughter Crystal Gajewski.
"I have worked very hard to put together an event my dad would be happy of," Crystal told Patch in an email.
At the toy drive, the foundation will collect unwrapped gifts for children ages 1-16.
"Often, teenagers are forgotten about during toy collections, so let's help make their holiday just as great as younger children by making sure we bring gifts for them as well," Crystal said.
There will also be a 50/50 raffle and three prize giveaways at the event. Santa and Mrs. Clause will be on site for photo ops.
The toys donated Tuesday will go to charities including:
Stony Brook University Children's Hospital;
American Legion Post 1244;
Toys of Hope;
Suburban Children Inc;
Suffolk County Deputy Sheriffs;
Suffolk County Police Department;
The Honeysuckle Foundation for Children with Cancer;
Victims of Hurricane Sandy
If you can't make it to Canz, you can mail an unwrapped toy, gift card to purchase additional toys, or a money donation to:
262 Martha Avenue,
East Patchogue, NY 11772
or (gift cards only) to:
PO Box 484
Bellport, NY 11713.
There will also be a collection of supplies to give away to animals in two local shelters. The animal charities include the following:
Save a Pet
Canz-a-Citi Roadhouse is located at 388 Medford Avenue (Route 112), just north of Sunrise Highway.