Tom Asciutto, top fundraiser for the 9th Annual Sons of Ireland Polar Plungers, has raised $6780 for this year’s polar bear fundraising event. We asked the 45-year-old branch manager in Hoboken, New Jersey, how he did it, why he does it, and a few more things.
How many years you’ve been taking the plunge?
This is my second year plunging.
Why do you do it?
- My wife is an ABSOLUTE ANGEL. It never ceases to amaze me how kind and charitable she is. I pale in comparison to her. She is my true love, my friend and my inspiration. I want to make her proud.
- I accepted the role of Charity Point Person in my firm. As part of this function, I try to inspire my co-workers…. leading by example and “walking the walk”. I am quite active in several other charities. I participate in the Autism Speaks Walk. I donate my time monthly and organize my co-workers to “feed the homeless”. We sponsor a “cook and serve” monthly at the Hoboken Shelter.
I also donate and assist WRAT with their Annual food drive to benefit the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. And this is how it all started. Last year, I had begun purchasing food for this drive in July. I would buy a case or so of food per week as I was doing food shopping for my family. I kept it all stored in my trunk knowing that I would deliver it to the Drive near the end of November. In the beginning of November, the trunk was full. As I was heading to work one morning, I was stopped at a light. Another driver rear-ended my car. It was a horrific accident and pretty much ended any hopes I had of assisting WRAT with the drive. I have very little recollection of the event.
What I do remember was sitting on a lawn on Rte 18 looking at my car which was a crumbled mess. My first thought was, “Am I dead? Well… I can’t be dead because I am in pain. And I am cold.” Then, “Is anything broken?” I got up and did “inventory”. I was in pain but nothing felt broken. I looked at my car and had no recollection of how I got out. All the doors were smashed shut. And then I saw all the smashed food lying all over Rte 18. That sight brought me tears.
As I came home from the hospital, I knew I couldn’t help on the Food Drive. I was in too much pain. But in keeping with the role of walking the walk, I knew I had to do something. Several days later, I heard WRAT talking about the Plunge. It was a natural fit. I had limited time to fundraise but still managed to be the #1 guy last year.
How you were able to raise so much?
I ask EVERYONE. I usually start by asking them to JOIN me knowing full well that 99% of the population thinks this is stupid and would never try it. And then when they say no, I ask them to support me. It’s tough to say NO to someone twice in the same conversation.
My advice is to anyone: Don’t be ashamed or shy — ASK EVERYONE you know.
I sent my solicitations to everyone in my personal e-mail address book. And everyone in my office. And everyone I play fantasy sports with….Facebook, etc. You get the picture.