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Mamaroneck Shares Focuses on Charity

MAMARONECK, N.Y. - The word is out on the Mamaroneck Shares block party, but its founders are now focused on translating the large turnouts to raise money for the charities it serves.

Peggy Jackson, co-founder of Mamaroneck Shares, estimated between 10,000 and 12,000 people attended the July 14 block party. The 501(c)(3) organization began last summer with three events, compared to the four events this year. The block parties last summer grew in attendance from 2,000 to 5,000 to 10,000 people.

"If every person that came donated just $1, think of how much money we could raise," Jackson said.

While its mission is to showcase Mamaroneck merchants, Jackson said the other part of the equation is raising funds for the charities through raffle ticket sales, bracelet sales and the various games and activities lining Mamaroneck Avenue.

Alessandra Giardini celebrated her sixth birthday Thursday by having her face painted, which was just one of several kid-friendly activities that helped raise money for the four charities benefiting from the block party.

Jackson and her two co-founders Ellen Hauptmann, co-chair of Keep aBreast, and Mike Hynes, owner of Molly Spillane's Pub, made an extra effort to raise money by carrying around a donation jar. Mayor Norman Rosenblum even pitched in with jar duty before cutting loose on the street-side dance floor in front of Cafe Mozart.

"Every place where there's music, the mayor walked around with a collection jar," Hauptmann said.

This year, the charities include Mamaroneck Emergency Medical Services, At Home on the Sound, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation and Keep aBreast, for which Hauptmann is co-chair.

The charities change every year, but Keep aBreast is the one carryover from last year. Hauptmann had been looking for a way to raise money for her charity at the same time Hynes was looking for a way to host a block party on Mamaroneck Avenue.

"The three of us got together and came up with Mamaroneck Shares and took it to the mayor, who loved it," Jackson said. "He took it to the Village Board of Trustees, who also loved the concept, and that's the birth of Mamaroneck Shares."

Hynes grew up in Galway, Ireland, where street fairs were common during the summer.

"It's even better here because you get to give to these charities," he said. "You gotta give a little to get a little."

The last two block parties will be held on Aug. 18 and Sept. 9.

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