SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The Lions Club of South Plainfield’s second annual Touch-A-Truck fundraiser took place July 15. Throughout the day, residents of all ages gathered at Veterans Memorial Park to check out the various vehicles and equipment.

“It was a great event again this year,” said Mike Zushma, president of the South Plainfield Lions Club. “Many of the families who came out stayed for hours.”

Lions Club member Eugene Massaro added, “We welcomed close to 1,500 to 2,000 people throughout the day and we had a great turnout in terms of participants.”

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Sponsored for the second consecutive year by A-Tech Landscape Design, the 2017 touch-a-truck event featured free admission – donations were accepted at the door – and more than three dozen pieces of vehicles. Attendees had the opportunity to sit in, take photos with and/or blow the horns of bulldozers, cranes, graders, excavators, loaders, back hoes, and dump trucks as well as big rigs, landscape equipment, garbage trucks, a fuel tanker, and tow trucks. There were also emergency service, military, and sanitation vehicles.

“My favorite part was the flatbed and the fire truck because the flatbed picks up cool cars and the fire truck puts out fires,” said almost 4-year-old South Plainfield resident Charlie Lester.

This year’s line featured vehicles and/or equipment from A-Tech, Majestic Towing, JESCO, Porchetta Construction, Lou’s Towing, Rich Tree Service, STILO Paving & Excavators, Nischwitz Feed & Fuel, D'Annunzio and Sons, Smith Solomon Commercial Driving School, Crisdel Construction, Lincoln Tech Diesel Academy, and Peek Equipment Sales, among others. The Middlesex County Office of Emergency Management, Middlesex County Haz-Mat, South Plainfield Department of Public Works, South Plainfield Rescue Squad, and South Plainfield Fire Department also had vehicles on hand.

Additionally, the South Plainfield EMS once again provided a cooling station as well as sponsored a bouncy house, water slide, and a train that took children on a tour around the park. An ice cream truck on site donated 20-percent of the day’s proceeds back to the Lion’s Club and children received free hard hats, courtesy of A-Tech, and wooden building kits courtesy of Lowe’s.

Throughout the day, food and drinks were available for purchase and there was also a face painter and raffles.

“This year was great; the weather was fantastic, we had so many more trucks come, and there was a really good turnout and steady flow of attendees all day long,” said A-Tech co-owner and South Plainfield Councilman Jon Dean.

The 2017 touch-a-truck event raised approximately $4,000, with the monies benefiting the non-profit Lions Club and their mission to help South Plainfield residents in need. In addition to awarding scholarships each year, the club assists with medical expenses, including eye exams, glasses and hearing aids, for those who cannot afford them; helps pay for medical transportation; provides gifts to Roosevelt Care Center in Edison during the holidays; helps local veterans; and regularly donates to local food banks.

“The touch-a-truck fundraiser is getting begging and bigger each year and it’s all for a good cause – the Lions Club here in South Plainfield,” said Dean. “All proceeds go back to residents of South Plainfield in need.”

According to Zushma, the event would not have been a success without the support of A-Tech and all those who took part, as well as the volunteers, including students from his daughter-in-law’s school in Allendale, NJ, and, all who attended.

“All the money we raised through this fundraiser is given back to the residents of South Plainfield. Thank you once again to everyone who helped make this event a success,” Zushma said, adding, “A special thank you also to the South Plainfield Recreation Department for use of their facility again this year.”

With the second annual touch-a-truck fundraiser in the books, plans are already underway to bring the event back in 2018. “Already everyone is asking for it. The third annual event will be held on Saturday, July 14, 2018," said Zushma. 

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