Like any philanthropic organization, Al’s Angels spends as much time raising funds as it does dispensing them. There’s a constant struggle to come up with new, creative ways to ask people for money.
The Westport group — well-known for providing holiday meals and gifts to children and families suffering with cancer and rare blood diseases — hits the mark with its upcoming effort.
Their “24 Hours of Strikes” is a bowl-a-thon at Lucky Strike Lanes in midtown Manhattan. Anyone can sign up to bowl a half-hour slot on the weekend of April 2-3. They then ask friends, relatives and colleagues for pledges: $1, $5, $10 or more for each pin knocked down during that time “frame.”
Strikes are triple — knocking down 10 pins counts as 30.
Lucky Strike Lanes -- a bowling alley for the 21st century.
Lucky Strike is nothing like the old Westport Lanes; this is a party venue. There’s a great club/lounge, with music, food and beverage (and a bar). There are 10 billiards tables. Spectators are welcome (tickets are $100).
Al’s Angels’ goal is to raise over $75,000. It’s ambitious — but founder Al DiGuido is up to the challenge.
He’s signed up for a slot (April 2, 12-12:30 p.m.), and vows to “crush” 300 pins.
Knowing Al, he’ll solicit hundreds of pledges. He’ll reach his goal.
He’ll bring joy to hundreds of families that desperately need it.
And he and his Al’s Angels family will have a great time, doing very good things.
(To sign up to bowl — or sponsor a bowler — click here. For a video of their good works, see below.)
Christmas is 364 days away. But — perhaps inspired by today’s “blizzard” — Al DiGuido and Steve Rubin are already looking ahead.
Al noticed that Westport doesn’t have an “official” Christmas tree — nor any “official” ceremony marking the beginning of the holiday season.
The Saugatuck River Bridge, all lit up this holiday season.
But, in a letter to the Westport News, Al — founder and driving force behind Al’s Angels — proposed that his organization work with the town to make the Saugatuck Bridge lighting the “official” holiday season lighting for Westport.
It would be incredible if we could close the bridge down for several hours on one magical night. Local restaurants could provide hot chocolate, donuts and other holiday treats — actually on the bridge, when we throw the switch. Area vocal groups could provide holiday music.
I know Santa and Frosty would definitely make an appearance too.
While other towns may have “trees,” no one has a bridge like ours. As Westporters, we love the differences in our town.
Let’s celebrate them!
He urged interested Westporters to contact him: email@example.com.
RTM member Steve Rubin seconds the motion. He says:
What a grand idea! What a better honor for the Cribari family! What a true fun tradition for Westport!
The official name of the span is the William F. Cribari Memorial Bridge. Born in1918, he directed countless numbers of cars as a police traffic official. Few people loved Westport and its history more than “Crowbar” did.
To continue to light the bridge from Thanksgiving to New Year’s would be an exciting Westport happening. It would encompass the entire holiday season for all.
Illuminating the bridge and nearby donated trees has become a Westport institution. Al DiGuido and friends started this tradition about a decade ago with other proud Westport residents, including myself.
Taxpayers’ funds have never been used. I think anybody driving by or across this bridge when it glows with lights would be happy to kick in a few dollars if requested to continue this tradition.
There you have it: The next great new town tradition.
And — this being Westport — the time to start working on it is yesterday.
The Westport organization holds a series of fundraisers — Angels in July, 24 Hours of Hope, Monster Mash — to provide over 2000 families with holiday meals, and over 5,000 children with holiday toys and gifts.
Now the real work begins.
Assembling and delivering Thanksgiving meal bins doesn’t just happen. On Sat., Nov. 13, many hands are needed at the Gault Oil Company truck depot (12 Willard Rd., Norwalk, behind the new CVS on Route 1).
The day begins with a 6-9 a.m. shift. A thousand bins must be organized; each must be stickered with the Al’s Angels logo, and affixed with labels and holiday cards.
Bins must then be loaded — 1 item at a time. Many of the items are heavy; some are fragile.
From 9-11 a.m., the Angels are in full action mode. All of the bins will be loaded with great food. It’s a hectic, wonderful, serious, fun and empowering time. This is the time for helpers with great organizational skills, so that everything can fit and the lids closed properly.
The strongest volunteers are needed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bins — weighing over 70 pounds each — must be lifted and loaded into trucks.
Ready to help? Contact Al DiGuido, master Angel: ADiGuido@zetainteractive.com.
Around here, Al DiGuido is known as the founder of Al’s Angels — one of Westport’s most hard-working, community-directed service organizations.
In the real world, Al is chief executive of CEO of Zeta Interactive, a New York company that monitors more than 100 million blogs, message boards and social media posts to analyze the feelings of potential consumers.
In today’s New York Times, Al weighed in on Tiger Woods’ recent woes. The formerly squeaky clean, bed-hopping corporate-icon golfer and erstwhile idol has suffered “the quickest fall from positive to negative we’ve ever seen” in the 5 years his company has measured such buzz.
Click here to help support “06880” via credit card or PayPal. Any amount is welcome, appreciated — and tax-deductible! Reader contributions keep this blog going. (Alternate methods: Please send a check to “06880”: PO Box 744, Westport, CT 06881. Or use Venmo: @blog06880. Or Zelle: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!)