LATHAM – Returning to Philly Bar and Grill Saturday, Nov. 18 is the 23rd Annual Rock For Tots. The annual fundraiser, held from 3-11 p.m. at 622 Watervliet Shaker Rd in Latham, will help support the USMC Capital Region Toys For Tots.
Restaurateurs who wish to support the cause can pay $10 and bring a new unwrapped toy to Rock For Tots. This year’s entertainment will be provided by Flame, Harmony Rocks, and Watchdog. Raffles will be held from 8-8:30 p.m. and a food buffet will be provided by 4-8 p.m. Also making her return to MC the event will be former NEWS10ABC reporter Mikhaela Singleton.
Waterford resident and event organizer Andrew Walters became involved in collecting toys for Toys for Tots in 1998 after being elected Commander of the Waterford Sons of the American Legion. That year, less toy donations were being collected and Walters wanted to help collect toys for the Blue Barrels.
The first time Walters collected toys, he was unable to fill the barrels and returned only a few toys to a Marine who was still appreciative of whatever toys were to be donated. Walters apologized for not being able to fill the barrels. The Marine suggested to Walters to try something different to gain more donations, Walters said.
In 1999, Walters discussed the idea of having a benefit event for Toys for Tots with his friend who ran Constanzo’s Riverside in Halfmoon (pre Chrome Food and Spirits). This new benefit would have live entertainment, a buffet, and a donation of $5 and an unwrapped toy. A year later, his friend at Constanzo’s called Walters to tell him that people were asking when the next Rock for Tots event was taking place. Walters and his friend planned the event again for the Saturday before Thanksgiving and since then, Rock For Tots has been happening around the same time frame.
According to Walters, the 1999 Rock for Tots fundraiser was both the largest event and the second event in the Capital Region supporting the Capital Region Toys For Tots.
Rock for Tots originally began at Costanzo’s until it was sold to new owners and became Chrome Food and Spirits. The event then was held at Michael’s Banquet House and later on, returned to Chrome. A few years had passed and the Chrome atmosphere changed and Walters decided to look for an alternative location.
Waters then went to Philly to meet with owner, Rocky Patel, and his manager to discuss the Rock For Tots idea. After holding the discussion, Patel and his manager made an agreement with Walters to host the event at the Latham restaurant.
Rock for Tots was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and due to the success of the 2021 fundraiser, Rocky wanted Walters to book the event for 2022.
For those who are not able to attend the fundraiser but would like to make a toy donation can drop off an unwrapped toy at all Dunkin Donuts locations for the Toys for Tots collection boxes. And for those who want to attend the fundraiser but don’t bring a toy with them, they will be asked to pay $20.