Carz N Toyz Donates Everything from Toys and Books to Defibrillators, and Video Monitors to Local Hospitals
Founded in 2011, the Cherry Hill-based NPO Carz N Toyz donates everything from toys and books to video monitors and infant and special needs car seats to local hospitals treating children in need.
A non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation, Carz N’ Toyz was formed by local car enthusiasts, led by Robert Paglione and Sam Lacroce, who wanted to combine their hobby with community service. The original mission of the organization was to “bring a smile to the faces of hospitalized children served by Virtua in Southern New Jersey.”
Over the years, and because of the generosity of their benefactors, the original mission has expanded to support many worthwhile causes and projects all of which focus on benefiting children
The Carz N Toyz story began In 1971 when Saverio Lacroce’s son, Saverio Joseph Lacroce, was diagnosed with leukemia and taken to a children’s hospital for treatment. The day the family arrived for admission, someone stole the boy’s overnight bag from the car. The bag was filled with toys and personal items that were meant to make him feel comfortable and surrounded by things special to him while undergoing care.
Forty years later, Lacroce, an avid car enthusiast, helped found Carz N’ Toyz, along with Paglione, Ray Giannantonio, and Dominic D’Auria.
Today, all Carz N’ Toyz activities, are done in memory of Saverio Joseph Lacroce, who passed away in August 1975 at the age of 12.
Working with no (0) employees but generating revenues that run between $100,000 and $200,000 annually, Paglione and Lacroce say that their most important barometer of success is “smiles.”
Besides donating toys for hospitalized children throughout the year, Carz N’ Toyz has also provided infant car seats, books and book cases as well as electronic games for hospital activity rooms. Contributions have also been made in support of the new Pediatric Care Unit at Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mt. Holly.
The NPO’s most recent endeavor is to provide funding for concussion impact testing for young athletes. “Support of this project truly aligns with, and punctuates our motto … ‘Driven to Care for Kids,’” says Paglione.
Carz N Toyz original client list has expanded and now includes not only Virtua, but also Our Lady of Lourdes, and Weisman Rehabilitation Hospital.
All of which is why the organization is this month’s SNJBP Impact Award winner. Paglione’s reaction to the selection—“very surprised and proud.” The organization was also selected as a winner in SNJ Business People Readers’ Choice Top Non Profits of 2014.
Among the organization’s events are the Annual Toy Run To Virtua, and an event called the Carz N' Toyz-The Road Ahead, an annual charity dinner held at Tavistock Country Club. Last year’s event was “a huge success,” according to Paglione, with attendance exceeding 2013 by 20%. The dinner, auction and ad book raised more than $50,000 which is being used to purchase toys, books, book cases, defibrillators, oxygen monitoring equipment, special needs car seats, TV Monitors and other items specifically requested by Carz N' Toyz beneficiaries, Virtua, Weisman Children's Rehabilitation Hospital and the Osborn Facility at Our Lady of Lourdes.
The Toy Run took place along Route 70 with spectators emerging from their places of business and gathered along the road to watch as nearly 100 cars and trucks from Ferraris to Fords, led by the Cherry Hill police, passed by on their way to delivering more than 1,800 toys to the children under the care of Virtua. Carz N’ Toyz also made a $10,000 donation to Virtua Foundation that will be used to purchase artwork for the Pediatric Pavilion at Virtua Memorial...
The group also sponsors an “Run for the Kids,” which last year brought local runners, joggers, and walkers to Virtua Hospital Voorhees certified track. Run for the Kids is a 5K for runners, but also includes a one-mile walking component for those wanting to raise awareness, but participate at a slower pace.
Carz N’ Toyz also partners with Virtua, the Philadelphia Soul, and South Jersey Elite Invitational Youth Football League to sponsor baseline concussion testing for local youth athletes.
Paglione says that his organization’s “goal yet to be achieved is to move into Pennsylvania.”
Pictured: Sam Lacroce pictured with long time friends and supporters Aldo Lamberti and Bob Paglione