Our first event on December 17th, Claudio's Birthday, 5 weeks after the accident, Claudio's Can Drive, brought in over 20,000 lbs. of non-perishable food items which we donated to 3 local food banks. The following year we nearly doubled the collection and donated to 5 local food banks. In 2014 we will be adding a second can drive location in Highland, with the hopes of doubling our collection again to 70,000 lbs. These events, though organized by us, is very much the work of teens and young people that volunteer to help us. We stress the importance of having our young people perform selfless acts in the hopes of inspiring them to greatness. All told we have collected and distributed over 400,000 pounds of food to pantries in the Hudson Valley
Claudio's Car Show was next. This event was established to raise money for the FDR Junior Class as well as the foundation. With over 30 volunteers, we were able to donate over $ 5,000 to the class with an additional $20,000 donated throughout the subsequent years . Again this event, though organized by us, was run by our local teens who helped promote, organize, and participate in the event
Finally we held the first Annual Claudio Cares Foundation Snowflake Gala. We were able to net over $26,000.00 at this event with half going to Regina Coeli School in order to build the very first Claudio Coppola Memorial Computer Lab. This event was also manned by a completely volunteer staff and included over 50 young people performing all tasks. Since our inception, we have dedicated five other computer labs with the most recent being at the Anderson Center for Autism
The money we raised at these events also fund a scholarship program with which we give out awards to high schools Seniors in Dutchess County as well as to donate to causes Claudio held dear to his heart. In 2013 we awarded the very first Claudio Coppola Student Leadership Award. In 2014 we increased this program and included 5 high school, with our goal being to have every high school in Dutchess County in 2015 and to grow into our surrounding counties from there.
Our hope is that with the help of "gofundme" we can reach our goals and in so doing fufill our quest to inspiring young people to greatness. The money we raise with this "gofundme" campaign, we will purchase food in order to help support our young people collecting for our December 17th Can Drive. High Schools throughout Dutchess County collect and deliver food to their local pantries. In doing so they learn the importance of helping their own. The pantries we support routinely have their shelves filled at a time when they are bare. For too long, our younger generation has been ignored. We hope to instill morals, selflessness and fortitude in these young adults. If we can make a difference in their lives, they can go forward and make a difference in other people’s lives.
Though Claudio’s life ended tragically, his spirit can live on through our efforts to making a difference in the lives of young people. Thank you and God bless you.
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- Lisa Fister
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- Dutches County United Teachers Council
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