The annual Jeeps on the Run event benefiting Lake and McHenry counties earlier this month raised almost $60,000 and collected tens of thousands of toy donations, organizers said.
500 Jeeps participated in this year’s run, which took place on December 4.
The event began at Ray Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Fox Lake and ended at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan.
“We filled two 53-foot semitrailers and two seven-ton military trucks with toys,” said Mike Missak, who founded Jeeps on the Run 10 years ago.
“On Dec. 14, we went shopping with the funds collected from the raffles, including the Jeep Wrangler raffle. We spent $25,000 and filled another box truck with countless toys,” Missak said.
Jeeps on the Run worked with Toys for Tots in Lake and McHenry counties to ensure that toys would be distributed in time for Christmas to children in need across the region.
Toys for Tots Lake County was given a check for $14,500 and Toys for Tots McHenry County was given a check for $20,000 to make last-minute toy purchases for age groups in which both groups were falling short.
“It’s heartwarming to know so many youngsters will wake up Christmas morning to plenty of great, fun gifts under the tree thanks to the efforts of those who coordinate this terrific event,” said Ray Scarpelli Jr., owner of Ray Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Fox Lake and the event’s chief sponsor. “I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Missak said Scarpelli’s support included the donation of a new $43,000 Jeep Wrangler that the group raffled off. The winner was Ingleside resident J.R. Rocamora.
“The Jeep was donated to JOTR free and clear,” Missak said. “One hundred percent of the funds from ticket sales went to assist in the purchase of additional toys.”
Event participants paid $25 per Jeep to participate in the run. An after-party took place at the Genesee Theater.
Missak said the organization’s 10th annual event this year was the most successful one to date despite overall sponsorships being down.
Transportation officials limited the participants to 500 Jeeps that could participate this year.
As many as 800 participated in previous years, Missak said, adding that next year’s event date already has been selected.