The Season of Giving
By Jeremy Brown
Love Holds Life’s annual toy drive will bring holiday joy and happiness to the families who need it the most.
In 2012, Richard Senato, then a volunteer with the Red Cross, was approached by a friend with the prospect of starting a foundation. A young boy, Michael Montana, was battling leukemia at just 11 and the family was struggling financially. The proposed foundation would help raise money to fund Michael’s treatments.
“I agreed to do it,” Senato recalled, “and that’s how Love Holds Life was formed.”
Through fundraisers, motorcycle rides, golf outings charitable donations and toy drives, Love Holds Life helped raise more than $70,000 for the Montana family and has gone on to help families throughout the region at an average of $25,000 per child.”
“Our mission is to financially assist families whose children are battling cancer,” said Senato. “We want to help to relieve the financial pressure that they’re facing.”
Senato feels that Love Holds Life stands apart from other organizations due to the immediacy of the work that they perform.
“We have a powerful message and mission,” he said. “We do something that most people don’t do, which is take care of people who are battling cancer now. I’m looking to help those that are sick right now – whether it be your brother, your sister, your father or your mother.
As the holiday season approaches, Senato is looking ahead to Love Holds Life’s annual Toy Drive, which will be held on Saturday, December 15th at Lewis Tompkins Hose Company #1 in Beacon, New York. The event, which is officially titled “Cookies & Cocoa with Santa” will feature holiday treats, an array of superheroes and princesses to meet, and plenty of photo ops with Santa himself.
The drive is held each year in memory of Leticia Dos Santos, the eighth child to be sponsored by Love Holds Life, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 15. “She and I started these toy drives about five years ago,” Senato said.
Recently, Senato, in need of a little extra help, has been reaching out to Club Fit for their involvement. A long time member of the Briarcliff location, Senato said that Club Fit’s charitable and family-driven approach make them the perfect ally for Love Holds Life.
“I think they’re great,” he said. “They’re family-run and family-oriented, and they’ve got great staff members who are always smiling and happy and there to help you. I think everything that they stand for is great.”
For Club Fit members and families who are looking to help out with the toy drive, Senato said that boxes will be available at the Briarcliff location. People who wish to donate have until December 7th to bring new and unwrapped gifts ranging from board games to stuffed animals, books, sports equipment and Legos. Senato says that, however little or much each family wants to give, he can guarantee that it will be worth it.
“The kids get so happy and the parents are so grateful,” he said. “It brings people together. And the holidays aren’t just about presents, it’s about coming together. It’s about being happy and joyful. What could be better than that?”