Whenever we’re on Long Island visiting family, we make sure to stop by Glen Cove Beer Distributors to pick up some beers and have a chat with Pete Morra, who runs the store. On one of these trips he told us out about his involvement with the Cans for Cancer program at Winthrop University Hospital’s Cancer Center for Kids. He answered a couple of our questions:
The Cans for Cancer program works with the help of large corporations and individuals donating their empties. Some major contributors are Nassau Coliseum, Adelphi University and Long Island Ducks Stadium. The hospital picks up the empties from the venues and brings them to us. We sort them, count them and package them for redemption. We then transfer the nickels to the Cancer Center for KIDS at Winthrop Hospital.
How did you get involved?
On Tuesday, May 31, 2005 my son Joseph was diagnosed with ALL, Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a type of Leukemia, two weeks after his second birthday, May 16. He was in treatment at Winthrop for 3 1/2 years. His final treatment was in August of 2008, one month before he started kindergarten. He is now about to finish second grade and doing fantastic.
About six months ago, Mike Ryan, a parent from Bayville who’s son was also treated for Leukemia at Winthrop, and Elizabeth Urbanski, a fundraising rep from the Cancer Center, asked if I would take over the program [which had been started in 2001]. It was in complete disarray. The hospital was using a distributor in Suffolk who was part of a redemption scam and Winthrop needed to disassociate with this individual (there are still funds missing).
How long will the program run?
As long as there are people an organizations willing to donate their empty bottles and cans.
Pete made the first donation for the Cancer Center in mid-June of 27,960 empties, totaling $1,398 for the center. The money from the program will go to a fund that helps families who don’t have insurance, as well as for the purchase of life-saving equipment.
If you’re on Long Island and are looking for a place to bring your empties for a good cause (bottles and cans), drop them off at Glen Cove Beer Distributors, 167 Sea Cliff Ave. near the corner of Sea Cliff and Glen Cove avenues.