By: Jen Russon
An annual Christmas bash benefitting Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital will be hosted by a generous and festive family on Friday night.
For the last decade, Anthony Uttariello and his family have been, as Anthony puts it, ‘the crazy people with all the Christmas decorations.’
The Uttariello’s are extending an invitation to each of their friends and neighbors, hoping they’ll come by to take a look at this year’s shimmering, twinkling Christmas collection.
“My family taught me bringing other people happiness is the key to being happy yourself. It is a great feeling to do this every year,” said Anthony.
The toy drive dates back to when Anthony’s daughter, now 25, was diagnosed with diabetes.
“Kayla spent several years in and out of Joe DiMaggio, and they did a great job taking care of her. So we decided to give back by collecting toys and donating them to the hospital,” he said, adding it’s taken a village to grow the annual party into what it is today.
The Uttariello’s party is supported by baseball teams at surrounding Coral Springs high schools and North Broward Preparatory School, where baseball coaches at each of the schools, Todd Fitz-Gerald, Joe Giummule, Joe Franco, and Brian Campbell, helped put together the toy drive.
Anthony said he is grateful to local businesses, like Anthony’s and Guido’s Pizzeria, Cookies by Design, Nine Digit Media, Wings Plus, and Cecile’s Italian Ices, who have always been big givers at the holiday affair.
“We get the snow from the Panthers ice rink. They allow us to take it from out back, and we shovel it across my front yard,” said Anthony.
This year, the Uttariello’s party has an arts and crafts table for kids, cookie decorating, the aforementioned fake snow, and a visit from St. Nick himself.
Anthony said guests should plan on bringing a new, unwrapped gift for donation to the Toy Drive, benefitting the young patients at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, as well as kids at Oakland Park Academy, Our Children’s Workshop, and a new school expected to join the toy drive this year.
Anthony said Monica Cruz, director of the three schools, does a wonderful job putting together snacks and gift exchanges and that the event is a jolly photo op with Santa.
The toy drive is set for Friday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m. RSVPs are strongly encouraged and can be texted to Anthony.
The Uttariello’s Christmas party is at their Coral Springs home, just around the corner from 2626 NW 98th Lane. Additional parking is available at St. Andrew Catholic Church.
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- Jen Russon has been a staff writer for Talk Media since 2018. She is also a novelist, copywriter and editor at Swallow Publishing, LLC.
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