Bay Ridge Toyota gives back once again, this time to the March of Dimes.
The Chairperson of the Brooklyn Committee of the March of Dimes John Quaglione was on hand with his wife Kerry, and their two children Natalie Grace and Olivia at the local dealership, 6401 Fifth Avenue, on Thursday, April 13, as they presented a donation of $1,000 to a local March of Dimes family team, making them an official route sponsor for the upcoming “March for Babies” fundraising walk in Manhattan on Sunday, April 29.
In addition, Bay Ridge Toyota General Manager Vincent Tepedino, gave a $500 personal donation to Quaglione’s team.
Quaglione’s oldest daughter Natalie Grace, now six, was born at just four pounds, two ounces at 32 weeks. His youngest, Olivia was born nearly full-term due to research conducted in a March of Dimes laboratory.
The local parent discussed the significance of the cause and the Manhattan March for Babies.
“This is out sixth year doing it,” he said. “[Natalie Grace] is going to be seven-years-old. She was born in October, and so it’s every April. The first April when she wasn’t a year old yet, we saw on CBS, they’re a major media sponsor, the reporters were at the walk from Lincoln Center. I said to her when she was six months old that I want to do that next year. So we’ve done it every year since.”
Quaglione, who named his group Team Natalie Grace, also discussed how pleased he is that Bay Ridge Toyota’s outreach program, Building a Better Brooklyn, is stepping up to the place.
“Toyota has stepped up to be a sponsor which is the first time I’ve been able to get one of those for the event,” he added. “We’ve always had individual, personal donations. Now we are glad to have a corporate one. I know they did the breast cancer event and I was here in October. They are very in tune with donating and supporting fundraising efforts for health causes and I’m sure other things but kudos to you guys. We really appreciate it.”
Tepedino was happy to help out.
“We’re glad to be involved with you and March of Dimes and being a proud sponsor,” he told Quaglione, adding that the team at Toyota is also hoping to walk with the Bay Ridge family on the 29th.
“We picked March of Dimes because Mr. Quaglione is in Bay Ridge and it means a lot to his family so we wanted to make other people learn to help others around them, especially in Brooklyn,” said Jillian Giuffre, community outreach director for Building a Better Brooklyn, who has also raised funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Michael’s Cause, Grandma’s Love and City Harvest.
Quaglione continues to do his part for the March of Dimes.
“I met another family from Dyker Heights this year and they had twins, one didn’t make it so she joined my team with her sister,” he said. “We’re almost at $10,000 from our team which is the most we’ve ever done in one year. $8,700.”
He also stated that in New York, one in nine babies are born premature. “It’s a high for the national average and we are pretty high in the country in premature births,” he said.
The walk, he said, will start at Lincoln center and walk into Central Park and then out to Lexington.
“You’d be surprised as we’re crossing the street and police are holding traffic, people ask what the purple is for,” Quaglione explained. “So it raises awareness along with the money and some mothers that are facing some health related issues. They help assist mothers during pregnancy as well as babies post-pregnancy so it gives pregnant women understanding of a group that can help them.”