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THE COURIER/Photos by Mike DiBartolomeo
THE COURIER/Photos by Mike DiBartolomeo
The Whitestone Hot Rod Club

They dug deep to give back, and one little girl stood out in the big-hearted crowd.

            On Sunday, November 13, 150 cars, motorcycles and trucks set out from Forest Park for the East Coast Car Association’s (ECCA) 13th annual toy run to benefit St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children.

            With donations of toys and much-needed supplies, this year’s toy run tallied $14,000 for the children of St. Mary’s.

            “We have a lot of followers who have stayed with us all these years and have helped us out,” said Lou Buglione, ECCA vice president.

            But this year one little girl truly gave from her heart.

            About a month ago seven-and-a-half-year-old Ashley LaRotonda of Ozone Park told her father she wanted to sell her jewelry.

            “We thought she’d buy something for herself,” said proud grandma Joanne Antongiovanni.

            But instead, Ashley, a second-grader at P.S. 207 in Howard Beach, decided to give the money – $50 – to the ECCA and the children of St. Mary’s.

            According to Joanne, Ashley has been an honorary member of the ECCA since she was four, since her grandfather James, who has a 1938 Packard, brought her to her first toy run.

            “She always loved to help children and other people,” said grandma, who noted that when Ashley presented the check to the ECCA on stage, “she felt so good inside.”

            “She makes us smile,” said Joanne. “She is the apple of my husband’s eye.”

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