New Kensington chiropractor’s annual tailgating toy drive to be held Dec. 8
Alle-Kiski Valley residents looking to fill their stomachs and spread some Christmas cheer can do both during an annual toy drive that benefits the Salvation Army’s New Kensington center.
New Ken-based chiropractor Lawrence York has been hosting the toy drive for the past 20 years to help New Kensington-area families who may not otherwise be able to celebrate Christmas.
Attendees are asked to bring a toy or a monetary donation, and in turn can eat their fill of tailgate-style goodies including beef brisket, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs and desserts.
“We just keep food going all day long,” York said. “If you bring a toy or you bring a donation, you eat whatever we have.”
This year’s toy drive will be Dec. 8. It will take place in the parking lot of the Pittsburgh Ice Arena and inside the Breakaway Bar and Grill, both along Craigdell Road. York’s office is inside the arena building.
Proceeds always benefit the New Ken Salvation Army. The organization was suggested by the late Ed Medice, a friend of York’s, during the first event.
“Twenty years ago we didn’t know who to donate to, we didn’t know what organization to go to,” York said. “(Ed) said, ‘Why don’t we just call the Salvation Army?’ That’s how it all started.”
York said the donations from the first event — a couple hundred dollars and about 100 toys — were able to help several local families celebrate Christmas.
That inspired him to continue hosting the event each year.
Lt. Phillip Davies is one of the New Ken center’s commanding officers. He said he is grateful for the help and hopes the event will continue in the future.
“We are very appreciative of Dr. York and his contributions to the Salvation Army. Everything received at this event helps the Salvation Army provide Christmas toys to children from families in need of assistance,” Davies said. “The continued partnership with Dr. York over these past 20 years has played a pivotal role in successfully providing Christmas to those in need. We look forward to this event both this year and many more years to come.”
The toy drive is usually well attended and recognized by the community, York said.
It has collected over $5,000 and roughly 1,000 toys over the past five years.
One year, an anonymous donor from Leechburg donated $5,000 on his own. That same donor also brought 50 toys, which included 10 children’s bicycles, York said.
“It gets pretty sizable if it gets put out there pretty good and a lot of people know about it,” York said of the toy drive. “It’s just a great day.”
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, [email protected], or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.