DUNKERQUE — The Unique Car Club of Dunkirk donated $7,000 this week to an after-school program in the city for a boxing ring.
Juan Rivera, the auto club’s founder, said he raised most of the funds at an Oct. 9 show at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds.
“We raffled off a television. We had people selling tickets all over Dunkirk,” he said. Most of the $7,000 came from that, but some of it came from a donation from Jose DeJesus and his Buffalo auto company, JJ Details and Maintenance.
The money went to 2XL, which started out as a youth boxing program but branched out into all sorts of other activities to keep the little ones busy.
Rivera used to box for 2XL — in fact, he was one of the program’s original boxers when it was created in 1999, program manager Chris Rodriguez said.
The donation plan stemmed from a meeting between the two after a Common Council meeting in July, where Rodriguez defended Rivera during a show in June that angered residents and officials over the issues of noise. In gratitude and out of a desire to help the community, Rivera offered to raise funds for 2XL at an upcoming show.
“I told him, I’m ready to help as much as I can,” said Rivera.
The ring will eventually be installed in 2XL’s space inside the former Regent Theater on Third Street. However, there are a lot of renovations needed there, so for now it will apparently be used for exhibitions. Rivera said he had proposed, and was working out the details, to hold boxing exhibitions with the ring at the first three Unique Car Club shows next year.
Rodriguez said Monday’s check presentation came on the 22nd anniversary of 2XL’s incorporation.
He pointed out that the program has extended far beyond boxing. In conjunction with the Kids at Promise initiative, the program offers activities such as arts and crafts and has a second-floor lounge where children can do their homework or just relax. Kids at Promise and 2XL currently share space in a Townsend Street building rented from Blessed Mary Angela Parish.