Cheesesteaks to help toy run

August 26, 2009 4:04:47 PM PDT
A toy run in jeopardy is being helped out by a Philadelphia favorite. Every November for the last 28 years, thousands of motorcyclists roar into the parking lot at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia bringing young patients holiday cheer in the form of toys and clothing.

But this year, the 29th annual Run won't take place if ABATE, the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Towards Education, the group that sponsors it, doesn't come up with $30,000 for police services.

Nick Luke of Tony Luke's Steaks heard the news and said he knew he had to do something.

"It just broke my heart, me and my brother always used to do the toy run," Nick Lucidonio of Tony Luke's said.

The brothers agreed they'd start with a $5,000 donation and then challenge their competitors to do the same.

But that didn't sit too well with the owner of Geno's Cheesesteaks known for his generosity to charities and causes in the area.

"What I would say to Tony Luke is stand up be a right guy, put the $30,000 and shut your mouth. Let me see his 30,000 and I'll match his $30,000, now the parade can go on for 2 years," Joey Vento of Geno's Cheesesteaks said.

But the owner of Pat's Steaks across the street changed his plans to go to the shore when we told him of Luke's request.

He immediately wrote a check for $5,000.

"Children's Hospital means a lot to me, helping the children is a priority for me," Frank Olivieri of Pat's Steaks said.

Olivieri says the challenge to donate did not insult him.

Back at Tony Luke's, customers have been responding to the toy run's dilemma.

"The people steeping up to the window are giving the cashiers money to give to us," toy run chairman Mark Schultz said.

Tony Luke's says it is also establishing an endowment for the event's future, but for this year, he says, no matter how much money they raise, Tony Luke's would take care of the rest.

We also contacted Jim's Steaks at 400 South Street and the owner, Abner Silver, said he too, would commit to a donation to the toy run.

To donate: visit a PNC Bank branch near you and make a donation to 29th Annual Children's Hospital Toy Run or call 610-359-8221.

For more information, visit www.delawarevalleyabate.org


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