Navy Street Charity holds inaugural event at Pine Farms Orchard

November 7, 2018   ·   0 Comments

Mayor Steve Pellegrini, Grazyna Tonkiel, Sandra Longo, King-Vaughan MP?Deb Schulte celebrate the successful Navy Street Charity fundraiser.

Established in 2016, Navy Street Charity was born from a lifetime of personal experiences navigating a world full of barriers for individuals with disabilities. The charity’s founder Sandra Longo has an intimate familiarity with caring for loved ones with mobility issues.
When a serious car accident left Sandra trapped in a submerged vehicle, in the middle of winter, she marvelled at the absurdity of living a life full of pointless struggle. At that moment Sandra realized she was put on this Earth to accomplish something more. At that moment, she knew that if she survived her life had to hold a higher purpose.
When she was rescued and needed a place to heal she ended up serving apples and cider at Pine Farms Orchard, located in King, just north of her busy life and telecom career in neighbouring Woodbridge. That orchard was where the idea of Navy Street was born and why she selected it as the venue for its first fundraising event, “its unofficial launch party,” as Sandra puts it. For her, Navy Street Charity is a way to bring purpose to the experiences that defined her life up to now. Though not officially launched until that night, Sandra’s efforts have yielded fruit, donating several ramps to families in need and garnering recognition through Women of Influence – Toronto Non-For-Profit Leader 2017.
According to Statistics Canada roughly 12% of people over the age of 15, living within our communities, are struggling with mobility issues. Based on her personal experiences with close family members, Sandra Longo knows how much a simple lightweight, portable wheelchair ramp can improve the lives of people struggling with mobility. The charity’s mission is to deliver this simple and effective solution to any Ontario resident in need. People living with these challenges shouldn’t have to worry about depending on others to assist them performing basic tasks, that’s why equipment such as wheelchair ramps and wet rooms for showering (from places such as AHM Installations for example) can help to promote a new sense of independence for people with mobility issues. Navy Street Charity’s mission to deliver these wheelchair ramps to families in need is a step in the right direction towards giving people their freedom back to do things by themselves.

On Oct. 20, Navy Street held a soft launch at Pine Farms Orchard, raising $10,000 thanks to event ticket sales, generous donations and sponsors such as Signature Lifestyle Communities and Nature’s Emporium.
The evening was MC’d by celebrated radio show host Drew Marshall and featured special guest Unstoppable Tracy, motivational speaker, author, decorated athlete and four-time amputee. The guests included numerous prominent members of the community, celebrated artists and local dignitaries. By all accounts, the event, meticulously planned and executed with the help of Sandra’s dedicated team of volunteers and board of directors, was a terrific success.
“I was touched by how many people approached me and told me they felt it was a truly inspirational and moving evening,” Longo said.
Between Unstoppable Tracy and Mary Longo, guests got to hear about two ends of the disability spectrum.
“When my mother took the floor and talked about how, unlike Tracy, she wasn’t born with a disability and what it was like to, in the same instant, lose her mobility and her sense of self. My mother used to live a full and vibrant life, completely immersed in social activities. When she suddenly developed paraplegia, the invitations stopped coming. She felt that she had suddenly become invisible; there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. People approached me and said: ‘I never knew! I’m so sorry!’”
Navy Street Charity aspires to double the number of ramps donated in the coming year. To help get there, Sandra and her team are planning something special for the fall of 2019. Based on the great job the Navy Street Team did on their Oct. 20 event, the Navy Street Charity 2019 Fall Gala promises to be an event not to be missed. To learn more about Navy Street Charity, how you can get involved, or to donate please visit



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