Touch-A-Truck comes to Eisenhower Park for a great cause

Long Island families had a unique opportunity to explore, sit in and take pictures with dozens of trucks and vehicles that are usually not available to the public. Nassau County executive Ed Mangano and Cox Media Group’s Touch-A-Truck event took place on Saturday, April 29 at Eisenhower Park.

Every kid’s dream: To be able to sit in big rigs, fire trucks, police vehicles and touch whatever they want! Event goers were able to flash the lights, honk horns and use the PA system. Even adults took advantage of this semi-annual event.


April 29, 2017. Eisenhower Park, East Meadow. Both Mack and Garbage Trucks are on display for kids to climb on, honk horns and sit in at Touch-A-Truck. Credit: Renee Ventaloro.


Cox Media Group’s Long Island radio stations 102.3 WBAB and 106.1 WBLI hosted the event in conjunction with Nassau County. The event took place not just because it was a good community affair, but also as a way to fundraise for the Ronald McDonald Long Island house.

“It is a great event to get the community together.”

Nancy Cambino, Cox Media Group’s Senior Event Coordinator, alongside her dedicated team, have been planning this event for months. In an exclusive interview, Cambino shares her thoughts on the event.

May 8, 2017. West Babylon, New York. Nancy Cambino has been working for Cox Media for over 18-years! The company got involved when they were looking to get heavily involved with the community which they provide music for.

Although the event was free, attendees were encouraged to bring donations to help “Stuff-A-Truck” for the House. When asked by Cox Media representatives, the House requested paper goods as a form of donation for this event because they are “the most in-need items.” The Ronald McDonald House is run strictly on donations so events like these help the organization tremendously.

WBAB staff member Victoria Onorato said, “The kids are absolutely loving it,” Onorato added, “It is a great event to get the community together as a whole, and to top it off – it’s for a great cause!”

The event encompassed as many community needs as possible. Nassau County and Cox Media officials deemed the 10 a.m. hour a “Horn-Free Hour,” which tended to children and adults with special needs or sensitive ears. During this time, all were still welcome to climb and sit in the trucks.

The up-close-and-personal experience with the vehicles was just one part of the event: Food, venders and costume characters were also available for families to enjoy. Touch-A-Truck also had special appearances by Stormtroopers, Ghost Busters, and the man himself: Ronald McDonald.


April 29, 2017. Eisenhower Park, East Meadow. Families wait in line to get up-close-and-personal with a Nassau County Police Department SUV at Touch-A-Truck. Credit: Renee Ventaloro.


The original Ronald McDonald house was founded in 1978. To this day, each location provides temporary lodging and care for families while their children battle cancer.

The New Hyde Park location is the 100th House of over 300 Ronald McDonald programs worldwide. Located blocks away from Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York. This House serves as a home-away-from-home for families who have pediatric family members undergoing treatment at nearby hospitals.

Ronald McDonald House of Long Island welcomes children and families from across the country and the world. The House can accommodate 84 families and is filled to capacity almost every night. According to the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, “Since opening in 1986, approximately 18,000 families from the United States have been served.”

The number of families staying at the House each year varies depending upon length of stay and type of treatment. “In 2010, the House served 868 families: 729 were from the local area, 87 from other states across the country and 52 from countries in the Caribbean, Europe, South and Central America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa,” according to The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island.

Below is a chart illustrating the cost-effectiveness of the Ronald McDonald House in comparison to the surrounding Queens/New Hyde Park area for families in need.

image (2).png

Data credit: Ronald McDonald House of Long Island.


As families suffer from having a child going through serious medical treatment, the friends and family at RMH feel shelter and food should not be an added worry. For just $25 per day for qualified families the Ronald McDonald house suits a variety of families’ needs.

In addition to housing, the House also supports families through wellness programs, tutors, music, art, transportation, activities for siblings, holiday and birthday parties, and support.

The House prides itself on its many services they offer families at the price that they do. Therefore, events such as Touch-A-Truck and the many Marathons they do are vital to its success.

Deepika Thadhini, PR & Marketing Manager at Ronald McDonald House of Long Island commented, “We love events like these, it allows our community members to have fun all while collecting necessary items for the House.”

The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island in conjunction with Cox Media Group host a plethora of events throughout the year, including a Ronald McDonald House Walk of Love and 5k on May 21!

April 29, 2017. Eisenhower Park, East Meadow. A video showcasing Touch-A-Truck event featuring facts about the event and its purpose!

Farmingdale student makes strides towards increasing social awareness in the community

By: Renee Ventaloro – Mar. 20, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.35.17 AM.png

First photo taken on Oct. 13, 2016 of student members of  Love Over Hate.  
Credit: Love Over Hate official Instagram account


Farmingdale State College freshman, Hannah Ventaloro, creates the school’s first-of-its-kind social issues club, Love Over Hate. The club established in Oct. 2016; with aid from the Research-Aligned Mentorship (RAM) Program and fellow students, 18-year-old, Ventaloro, began a quest for social awareness.

Who doesn’t want love over hate? As a country, America is going through a shift both socially and economically. The 2017 election has stirred up passionate dialogue on key social issues that affect everyday Americans. It has majority of people feeling the effects – even the youngest of voters.

“I saw how people were afraid..

I didn’t want that on my campus.”

Post-election events struck a chord with the President of Love Over Hate, when asked about the club’s intentions she stated,“we support positive activism and a safe space for students,” Ventaloro added, “we also aid organizations that need financial support. We will go to any extent to make people feel comfortable on and off campus.”

Creating dialogue, raising awareness of key social issues, fundraising for the community, and supporting disenfranchised groups are the focus of this newly-found club. Ventaloro and members seek to make their presence known in their community order to make an impact.

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.30.45 AM.png

LOH members holding an information session in the Student Center on Feb. 21.
Credit: Love Over Hate official Instagram account.


Love Over Hate emphasizes the importance of not stereotyping any group of people or political party (or lack thereof). In fact, stereotyping is what fueled Ventaloro’s passion to start this club.“People being scared on campus made me start Love over Hate. You know, I saw how people were afraid and how there were some people who took that fear and made racist remarks towards others and discriminated against them. I didn’t want that on my campus,” said Ventaloro.

Pessimism about race relations in America is higher than it has been in nearly a generation, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. This could create a potentially dangerous environment for students attending a racially diverse school. Below is Farmingdale State College’s official race and ethnicity data, outlining the importance of a club such as Love Over Hate.


Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 11.29.32 AM.png

With the creation of this club, members hope to bridge the gap between racial and social relations by unifying the college through education. “The unknown, is what I feel, scares people,” said Ventaloro.
The club encourages campus-wide activities and clubs such as their Anti-Bullying club, LGBT club, and Black Student Union. Love Over Hate recently contributed to the Women’s March in Washington D.C. where they conjoined other activists in raising awareness for women’s rights.


 President, Hannah Ventaloro and Vice President, Nicole Nunez at the Women’s March on Jan. 21.
Credit: Official Love Over Hate Instagram account.


Due to Ventaloro’s impressive strides at Farmingdale State College and the surrounding community, she has recently been the first student attending FSC to be nominated for the Newman Civic Fellowship Award; an award that only few are recommended for. This fellowship demonstrates a leader who takes action to change the world we all live in.

Love Over Hate meets every Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. in FSC’s Student Center.