On Saturday, July 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Joey Foundation, a nonprofit based in Levittown, will host the first annual Family Fun Day and vendor show at Levittown Hall. At 6 p.m., The Kentucky Derby…Joey Style begins. Both events raise funds to donate duffle bags to foster children of St. Christopher-Ottilie Child and Family Services of New York.
Family Fun Day will feature face painting, balloon animals, temporary tattoos, cotton candy and crafts for kids. Elsa from Frozen will lead a singalong, and Bizzydoo and Macaroni Kid will provide additional free activities for children. Princesses from the volunteer group Characters with a Cause will arrive at 2 p.m.
Adults can shop at more than 50 booths featuring both direct sales and individual vendors. Attendees can also expect a photo booth and a stuff-a-bear station. Admission is free. Each duffle bag costs $20. Donations are welcome. Attendees are invited to bring toiletries or school supplies to fill the duffle bags.
The foundation invites guests to “race your inner child” at the Kentucky Derby event that evening. Attendees can get their picture taken in front of the step-and-repeat banner on the red carpet, enter the derby hat contest and participate in the Chinese auction and sports memorabilia auction. Raffle prizes include tickets to a Broadway show and a Long Island Ducks game donated by Long Island’s K98.3.
For the main event, bets are placed on celebrity jockeys racing toy horses. Gary Brown, former offensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers; John Nitti, former New York Jets player; Meredith Gulfman, contestant on TLC’s The Next Great Baker; and John Theissen, founder of the Children’s Foundation, will be celebrity jockeys. Tickets cost $25 in advance or $30 at door and include dinner, beer, wine and soda. Buying tickets in advance enters you into a raffle for a three-day, two-night hotel stay. Purchase tickets at www.paypal.com via email@example.com.
Everything at the derby has been generously donated by local businesses, including Mille Grazie Pizzeria, B.K. Sweeney’s, Clare Rose, Little Kitchen Creations by Wendy, Carpets & Us, The Cake Don, Joel Harris Photography and many others.
Ann Torcivia started The Joey Foundation in memory of her son who passed away at age 6 due to aplastic anemia, a deficiency of the blood cells caused by failure of bone marrow development. Joey came to Torcivia’s family as a foster baby. At 4 months of age, he was diagnosed with the terminal illness. “We adopted him knowing he was not going to be with us for long,” Torcivia said.
Joey spent many months at a time in the hospital. “He was the mayor of the kids’ playroom,” she said, and added that Joey would help the other kids and give away his birthday presents to them because “they needed it more.”
“This is a way now that I can keep his memory alive. I can continue to do what he used to do,” said Torcivia. “Help us help kids in Joey’s memory.”
The Joey Foundation’s mission is to positively impact the lives of children. The funds it raises assist sick and needy children and their families through their “Make a Child Smile” program, support the Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Center at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, Ronald McDonald House and are donated to other children’s charities.
“We would love it if people who are in need find us,” Torcivia said. Last year, the Joey Foundation provided 225 Christmas and Hanukkah presents to children in need. The organization has also provided an iPad to a developmentally disabled child, money to a school in Jamaica to repair the roof, donations to a local school for the deaf, a swing set to a child with Stage 4 cancer and many other worthy causes.
Levittown Hall is located at 201 Levittown Parkway, Hicksville. For more information or to donate, contact the foundation’s founder, Ann Torcivia, at 516-822-5966 or search The Joey Foundation on Facebook.