Members of the Worth Classic Car Club recently donated $1,000 to the Marrs-Meyer American Legion Post 991 Auxiliary to help pay for Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets for local residents in need. Participating in the check presentation seen here are (from left) founding WCCC member and Worth Village Trustee Rich Dziedzic; Club Vice President Michael J. Hennessy, President John Schiera, Member-at-Large Mike Schiera, Bethanne Lode of the Marrs-Meyer Auxiliary, WCCC Events Coordinator Bruce Quintos and WCCC Trustee Dawn Quintos.
By Dermot Connolly
Fundraising was one of the many things made more difficult this year by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Worth Cruisers Car Club still managed to come up with a $1,000 donation to help Marrs-Meyer American Legion Post 991 continue the tradition of providing Thanksgiving food baskets for local families in need.
The Worth Lions Club also contributes to the annual program, which includes providing food baskets and toys at Christmas as well.
“ We have teamed up with the American Legion a couple of times in recent years to help approximately 75 families at Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Bruce Quintos, one of the founding members of the Worth Cruisers, who now serves as events coordinator. Worth Trustee Rich Dziedzic is another founding member.
Volunteers with the Marrs-Meyer American Legion Auxiliary put together the food baskets.
Quintos, a former Chicago Ridge trustee, noted that Dziedzic has been named Person of the Year for 2020 in recognition of his generosity toward the club and the community. “He donates all the money for our trophies for the cruise nights,” he said.
“ When the Worth Cruisers first started about 10 years ago, we were just a bunch of guys who liked classic cars,” said Quintos. “We always gave what we could whenever we were asked. But we’ve been doing it more formally since we formally became a 501-c7, a non-profit charitable organization two years ago.”
Much of the fundraising is done at the group’s Monday night gatherings held during the spring and summer in the Water’s Edge Golf Club, 7205 W. 115 th St., in Worth. But that was nearly impossible this year.
Volunteers assembled Thanksgiving baskets for 75 local families using food donated to the Marrs-Meyer American Legion Post 991. Christmas baskets will also be given out later this month.
“ (Marrs-Meyer) is really are low on funds this year. They have not been able to do any major fundraisers and neither have we,” said Quintos.
“ We sell T-shirts and raffle tickets and collect $20 annual memberships during our cruise nights. But because of COVID-19, we weren’t allowed to meet for 80 percent of the summer, or have our annual classic car show,” said Quintos. “Marrs-Meyer wasn’t able to do any major fundraising either. That is just the way it is this year.”
“ But thankfully, we were able to have our September Metra Car Show on Sept. 27,” said Quintos.
“ About 180 people with came out with their vehicles — three times the usual number,” said Quintos of the event held at the Worth Metra station. “I will be eternally grateful to those people.”
“ So many other events were canceled, and people just wanted to get outside and enjoy themselves,” said Quintos. “That made it possible for us to make the donation this year.”
“ I am eternally grateful to the people who come to our events. And you don't have to have a classic car either. A lot of people come just because they like to see the cars and hang out,” he said.
“ We are starting to get more donations as the holiday season approaches. We do as much as we can but I just wish we could help everybody,” said Quintos.
More information about making donations for the holiday food baskets and Christmas Toy Drive may be obtained on the Marrs-Meyer American Legion website at americanlegionpost991.org. There is a link on the site to the Auxiliary. Those interested in donating may also contact Quintos at (708) 642-9862.