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Empire City Casino Bets Big for New Yorkers in Need

Posted on December 19, 2016 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

Donates 1,000 Toys & Coats for Families in Need


Empire City Casino President Timothy J. Rooney, The Gander Group President Josh Blake & Catholic Charities New York Excecutive Director Monsignor Kevin Sullivan 

Empire City Casino, one of the largest entertainment and gaming destinations in the northeast, is betting big on New Yorkers in need.  So big, in fact, that last Thursday, December 15, its President Timothy J. Rooney presented Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and Órla Kelleher, Executive Director of our affiliate, Aisling Irish Community Center, with nearly 1,000 toys and coats collected during the casino’s 10th Annual “Christmas Spirit” Toy and Coat Drive. The donations that will be distributed through Catholic Charities agencies to ensure that New Yorkers in need have a warm coat this winter and a toy or two to put under the Christmas tree for their children.

Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino, Mayor of the City of Yonkers Mike Spano, New York State Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, New York State Senator George Latimer, New York State Assembly Member Shelley Mayer,  New York State Assembly Member Gary Pretlow, and Westchester County Legislator David Tubiolo joined the event and made their own contributions.

“The best way to show our appreciation for all the great things in our lives is to extend a helping hand to those who need it," said Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

Surprising for some is that while Westchester County is often considered an affluent community, there are extreme pockets of poverty.

  • Nearly 10 percent live in poverty
  • 31 percent of that population is under the age of 17
  • 12 percent of families do not have anyone working in the household
  • 52 percent of those in poverty are single parents.

Because of this, Empire City Casino has worked with Catholic Charities for 10 years to distribute toys and coats to kids who might otherwise have nothing to open during the holidays.

The drive to help families in our communities attracted some West Coast warmth –

  • Josh Blake, president of California-based and family-owned company, The Gander Group, donated hundreds of toys to the annual drive. This is the fifth consecutive year that Blake and his family have showered New Yorkers with their generosity. He is committed to assisting those less fortunate, and participates in toy drives like Empire City’s, and also donates time, money, food and clothing to those who need assistance.
  • Another annual key contributor to the effort is John Lennon, owner of Yonkers-based Smart Move & Storage, who generously donates his company’s services to transport and store of all donations while they are distributed by local community organizations.

“We had tremendous support this year,” said Mr. Rooney, “and we know that the donated items will find their way to some grateful families.”