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Nonprofits win ‘Cars for Good’ vote

Tania Laterea, left, a resident of an Association

Tania Laterea, left, a resident of an Association for Children with Down Syndrome (ACDS) group home, sits in a daycare class Thursday. (June 30, 2011) Credit: Frank Posillico

A pair of Long Island nonprofits will have new Toyotas to help serve their missions.

Lake Success’ Friends of Chabad and Plainview’s Association for Children with Down Syndrome were winners in Toyota’s “100 Cars for Good” program.

The program kicked off May 9 and is awarding 100 cars to 100 nonprofits over the course of 100 days. Five finalists are profiled each day on the contest’s Facebook page, with the top vote-getter that day winning a vehicle. According to the contest rules, the nonprofits will receive their vehicles within 150 days of winning.

“It’s a beautiful thing that Toyota is doing,” said Rabbi Dovid Ezagui, co-director of Chabad of Lake Success, Friends' parent organization. Friends cares for the elderly and brings food to families in need. The organization won a Toyota Highlander in the July 15 vote and will use it to help bring youth to visit the elderly and deliver food. Currently, the organization is using two minivans, but they are growing increasingly unreliable, as each has more than 100,000 miles on it.

“[Ultimately] the Highlander means less time in the shop, more time on the street,” Ezagui said.

The Association for Children with Down Syndrome won the July 7 vote. ACDS houses 49 adults with Down syndrome at seven residential group homes and one apartment on Long Island, and will use a new Toyota Sienna to help get its residents to recreational activities.

One more Long Island nonprofit has an upcoming vote. The Long Island Association for AIDS Care in Hauppauge will be one of five finalists on Aug. 8. According to -- where people can go to vote -- the organization would use the vehicle to deliver nutritionally balanced pantry bags and nutrition-related education to hungry Nassau and Suffolk County AIDS patients.

Above: Tania Laterea, left, is a resident of an Association for Children with Down Syndrome (ACDS) group home, which recently won a Toyota Sienna as part of the company's "100 Cars for Good" program.

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