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Annual holiday toy drive raises $9,500, exceeding donation goal

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It was another highly successful year for the 2023 Holiday Toy Drive, thanks to generous donations given to the Grand Lodge of Delaware and from those who donated from an Amazon link and in person. Toys were also collected at three radio-sponsored donation sites: Carman Auto Group in New Castle County, Mark’s Barber Shop in Elsmere, and Serpe’s Bakery in Elsmere. 

Standing with donations at Latin American Community Center in Elsmere, from left: Jacqueline Rodriguez, counselor; Mike Dell’Aquila, state vice president; Joe Facciolo, state president; Joe Cuccinello, member of Caesar Rodney Lodge; and Mariana Acosta, community center counselor. | PHOTO COURTESY OF JOE FACCIOLO

Each year for the last 25 years, the Grand Lodge of Delaware and its four filial lodges have donated toys to three local charities. Donations are presented to Wilmington, Del., charities the Latin American Community Center, the Ronald McDonald House and Nemours Children’s Hospital. Each year these charities provide the Grand Lodge of Delaware Sons of Italy with a target wish list of toys that are distributed to the four participating lodges. 

Joe Facciolo presents toys and a check from Prince of Piedmont Lodge to Hillary Bruno, director of Nemours Child Life Support Group. | PHOTO COURTESY OF JOE FACCIOLO

Toys are donated from all four lodges as well as donations made to a GoFundMe project and financial donations from local businesses. The effort is combined with programming announcements and donation requests made by Melissa Cannavo Marino, host of Italian-American radio programming in the Delaware Valley. She collected over 100 toys with donations from her coworkers at Bancorp in Wilmington and radio listeners who donated in person at drop-off locations.

Joe Facciolo, state president of the Delaware Grand Lodge of OSDIA noted that this year’s goal of $8,000 in donations was exceeded with a grand total of $9,500. A sincere thank you for financial donations made by Salesianum’s Class of 1966, The Prince of Piedmont Lodge, St. Gabriel’s Lodge and over 35 other individuals who are not named but whose generosity also deserves note.

The organizers would like to thank the two radio stations that ran announcements each day of the drive: WILM 1450AM (area president of PA region of IHeart Media Brett Goldstein and his staff) and WVLT 92.1FM (production director “Pepper” Paul Metzger and his staff).