PAL latest charity to launch holiday campaign

WNYT Staff
Updated: November 15, 2019 02:08 PM
Created: November 15, 2019 12:45 PM

ALBANY – While the 23rd annual Price Chopper Capital Holiday Lights in the Park doesn't open until the day after Thanksgiving, Albany's Police Athletic League is ready to go for the season.

On Friday, PAL began its annual "Pitch in for PAL Holiday Toy Drive" with a kick-off event at City Hall. Each year, Albany PAL, through its PAL toy program, provides toys and stocking stuffers to more than 1,000 youth in the Albany area. Albany PAL partners with CAP COM, Albany Police Department, Phillips Hardware and other groups and organizations as collection points.


"We try to help the families, help the parents make sure that every child has something regardless of the holiday they're celebrating, who doesn't want a toy, something new, during the holiday season," said Lenny Ricchiuti, Albany PAL's Executive Director.

The Capital Holiday Lights in the Park route through Washington Park doesn't change but the displays do. There are a dozen new displays and the biggest ever featured, 80-feet tall.

"Capital Crane came in, they're like we're here to put up a display and those guys were great," Ricchiuti said. "They came down and helped us out. Folks from BBL came down. Again, it's a true community effort."

Now in its 31st year, PAL is a juvenile crime prevention program which brings kids, cops and community together in non-law enforcement settings. PAL accomplishes its goals by presenting various educational, recreational, and social opportunities to Albany's youth. Each year, PAL engages thousands of youth with activities such as the After-School Homework Club, Mentoring Club, School Break Camps, Track events, and many more.

Other charities this time of year include the Marine and Dunkin'-backed Toys for Tots and the 129th year of the Red Kettle Campaign from the Salvation Army. Bell-ringers can be seen at various locations throughout the city during the holiday season.

"With only five weeks to raise funds that need to last all year, it's critical that we get off to a strong start this year," said Major Federico Larrinaga, Albany Corps Commander. "We are fortunate to live in such a caring and supportive community and we're asking our friends and neighbors to help us achieve a successful Red Kettle Campaign in 2019."

The money raised during the Red Kettle Campaign is a critical source of funding for vital programs and services for thousands of families, youth and senior citizens in Albany each year, including meals, toys and other holiday support for those in need, along with funding for food pantries, soup kitchens, social services, and education programs throughout the year.

This year, the Salvation Army has placed smart chips and QR codes on signs across the state, allowing donors to simply "bump" or scan their phones to make a digital donation. Donors will be directed to a custom donation page that accepts Apple or Google payment options.

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