On July 5, 2020, The Small Car Company, an all Air Cooled Club was delighted to host a Rally Across America event in New Canaan, CT.
The brainchild of Jim and Wendy Petty, Rally Across America was created with the vision of raising $1,000,000 for those in need due to the Covid19 pandemic.
The goal: Multiple rallies in every state produced by car clubs like the Small Car Company, raising funds for local charities in a nationwide effort.
According to Tom Truitt, "Small Car Company was thrilled to announce what was the third Rally Across America. As our charity, Small Car Company has chosen to support lower Fairfield County’s Person-to-Person (P2P)."
Person-to-Person, more commonly called P2P, was founded in 1968 in Darien CT, to provide assistance to residents in need in lower with financial and other aid. .
Truitt continued "Thanks to our sponsor, Zumbach's Gourmet Coffee of New Canaan, CT and the home of Caffeine & Carburetors. C&C one of the most attended and loved shows on the East Coast. Small Car is honored to have our starting point at this iconic automotive location."
Zumbachs Gourmet Coffee offered every participant a cup of Joe, and offered a generous donation that kicked things off. Small Car has all ready almost doubled their fund raising goal.
Master of Ceremonies for the event was Peter Bush.
The Small Car Company is delighted to host a local Rally Across America (RAA) #rallyXamerica, Sunday, July 5, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. The brainchild of our friends Jim and Wendy Petty, RAA was created with the vision of raising $1,000,000 for those in need due to the Covid19 pandemic.
The goal: multiple rallies in every state produced by car clubs like the Small Car Company, raising funds for local charities in a nationwide effort.
This Air Cooled Car Road Trip is in support of lower Fairfield County’s Person-to-Person Helps. org (P2P). P2P was founded in 1968 in Darien CT, to provide assistance to residents in need with food, clothing and financial aid. https://p2phelps.org @persontopersonct
We encourage participants to be generous in supporting this noble cause and organization. All donations big or small are welcome. The suggested donation is $100.00. 100% of every donation goes to P2P.
35 cars and up to 50 people are available on this socially distanced rally, first come first serve.
To reserve your spot and receive your rally package, IM or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to seeing you on the 5th!
Tom, Dave & Ian
All CT Phase 2 Covid-19 Rules in Effect:
We ask that all participants wear face coverings or masks when not in their cars
By Sean Smith on June 25, 2020, Current Issue of Roadcar, June '20, News–Roadcar, North America, Region, Vintage Roadcar Archives, Vintage Roadcar Articles
Jim Petty and his wife Wendy had been watching the news for two weeks straight and seeing what the pandemic was doing to some of the more challenged communities as the lock-down and quarantine unfolded. He knew there was a stimulus package, but it would dry up pretty quickly. It was going to get tougher before it got better. He wanted to help.
Jim looked at his wife and said, “I want to help, we want to help, but the last thing places like Bridgeport, Bethel, Danbury, and South Norwalk need is another 61-year old guy shoveling mashed potatoes on to a Styrofoam dish.”
What the local communities needed were funds, so how could they make that happen?
How could they start a movement that would make a meaningful difference.
At the same time Jim was also coming to the realization that the car season as we traditionally know it was being cancelled with all the social distancing requirements.
He identified a need, the local communities most severely affected by the pandemic, and he also identified an opportunity to keep the car and motorcycle community from having a dormant season.
With his experience as a career retail executive, Jim felt he had a workaround. He would create a short “coffee run”-type rally, like the ones normally occurring all across the country, where people get together to look at each others cars and tell stories and enjoy the camaraderie. But he would keep the numbers down, so social distancing could be better observed. The idea was for an invitation-only run with a 25-car limit, in Fairfield County, CT.
Each car would donate a minimum of $100.00 that would go to local communities that have been affected by COVID-19. He was sure he could get some interest.
Using an old mailing list from the Alden Sherman Classic Car show, Jim sent out an email blast. The concept of a Rally Across America was explained. Jim wanted the proceeds of each rally to go to and benefit the communities near where the rally occurred. The recipients of the monies raised would be decided by the coordinator of each local rally. The response was immediate and overwhelming. The consensus was a resounding yes. People wanted to do something like this. Jim also connected with some of the heavy hitters in the local car community, Frank Taylor and Bill Scheffler to help with the organization and logistics.
It would have a very local feeling, but could be replicated on a national basis. Jim was creating a Rally-in-a-box concept. Jim did some quick math. With 50 states, if each state on average did 8.25 car rallies during the car season, numbers would roll up quickly to a million dollars. That’s a nice number that Jim felt could be doable.
by Jeff Peek, Hagerty Media
23 June 2020
"Help me raise $1,000,000 for nonprofit groups all across America!" - Lilly Pray
Lilly Pray has a passion for cars, and now she’s channeling that energy into an organized drive that will give back to the community. Lilly, a nurse in Boulder, Colorado, serves an ambassador for Rally Across America, a grassroots organization whose goal is to raise more than $1 million for nonprofit groups across the U.S.
As a frontline medical worker and car lover, the fundraising tour is right in Pray’s wheelhouse, and it all started with her dad. Malcom Pray Jr. was a successful car dealer and well-known collector who gave generously to the Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, Red Cross, USO, and other local charities in Greenwich, Connecticut.
“My father taught me how to drive classic cars,” she says of Malcom, who passed away in 2013. “If I wanted to spend time with my dad, it was in the garage with him, as well as attending a lot of auctions and concours events.
“I’ve been a concours judge for many years, and it is probably how I made my dad the proudest when I started judging at Hilton Head Concours 19 years ago. He instilled in me a great sense of giving and giving back to my community,” she says.
Lilly Pray began working in the medical field in 1987, first as volunteer, which led to a career as a firefighter/paramedic. She became an RN in 2010 and volunteers as a victim advocate for the Boulder Police Department.
“My brother died in a car crash in 1986,” she says of Malcolm Pray III. “It was a life changing event. My life motto has been always to ‘help the weaker hikers on their journey.’ So as an EMS provider, and now a RN, I guess I’m still helping the weaker hikers and holding their hands in whatever way I can.”
She jumped at the opportunity to help Rally Across America, which hosted its inaugural drive on June 7, with proceeds going to the Connecticut Foodbank. A total of 41 cars took part, with each driver donating the suggested $100.
Lilly says the idea began with her friends Frank Taylor and Wendy and Jim Petty, who organized the drive as a way to recognize and give to 501(c)3 nonprofits in their area that have greatly suffered during the COVID-19 lockdown. Pray happened to be in Connecticut at the time, so she immediately registered her 1987 Porsche 911. Since Rally Across America hopes to have ambassadors in every state (and average eight drives per state), she took the lead for Colorado.
The first drive that Pray is organizing is set for June 28, beginning and ending in Boulder. Her chosen beneficiary is the Denver-based Morgan Adams Foundation, which raises funds for pediatric cancer research. “The MAF holds the best four-hour concours in the world,” she says, “and they had to cancel their annual major fundraiser on August 24 due to the ongoing events with COVID.”
She has planned two other drives for July 26 and August 16. They will follow a route “into the foothills of the mountains—an easy 60-mile drive lasting 3–4 hours.” As a registered nurse, Lilly is well aware of the possible negative ramifications of any gathering, so social distancing guidelines will be observed. “We just want to get out in our cars and help the nonprofit community,” she says.
She’ll be driving the 1959 Porsche Convertible D that she has owned for 25 years. If you’re sensing a Porsche pattern here, you’re onto something. Lilly’s daughter is named Portia.
Pray says Rally Across America events are planned in six states so far, including one later this year, organized by Barn Find Hunter Tom Cotter, that will travel country roads from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Virginia International Speedway and include a parade lap on the track. Details are forthcoming.
“Driving cars makes me happy,” Lilly says. “My car friends really are my family, and there is nothing as fun as gathering for a family reunion—whether it’s at a concours event, a 1000-mile drive, or a short day-run with friends.”
Rally Across America ambassadors are being sought in every state. If you’re interested in becoming an ambassador or joining a ride near you, contact Lilly Pray at LillyPrayRAA@gmail.com.
by Ted Craft, at Weston Today
A classic car rally on Sunday morning raised thousands of dollars for the Connecticut Food Bank. Organizers Jim Petty, Wendy Petty, and Frank Taylor hope the idea catches on in other parts of the country.
The two are among a number of classic car enthusiasts who are having a difficult time getting together during the current health crisis, with most summer car shows canceled.
With the blessing of Weston Police, around 40 owners of classics staged at the Weston High School parking lot for a drive around town. Each paid a $100 entry fee. Some contributed even more.
Hagerty Insurance, which specializes in coverage for car lovers, was on hand. Mr. Petty told us he hopes Sunday's event will serve as a proof of concept that will encourage the company to get behind a "Rallies Across America" program. The idea is to have eight events per state this summer. If each had just 25 cars, $1 million could be raised for local food banks.
Ms. Petty is the director of the Weston Senior Activities Center. She has been busy throughout this crisis delivering food, with the help of some generous volunteers. She has also been running a successful curbside pickup program for seniors.
Those wishing to help meet local food needs can easily contribute to the Weston Food Pantry in a couple of ways.
Here is where you can find the stories about upcoming and past rallies that our ambassadors have created.