March 2014 Newsletter
OUR MOST IMPORTANT REMINER IN THIS NEWSLETTER IS TO HAVE YOU SIGN ON FOR THE THURSDAY, APRIL 10 “DINING OUT AGAINST HUNGER” EVENING AT THE OLD BERMUDA INN AT 7 P.M. WE COMBINE THIS ANNUAL COMMUNITY EVENT WITH OUR MONTHLY MEETING (VERY SHORT AGENDA). YOU NEED TO SIGN ON ASAP. THIS IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO BRING SPOUSES, FRIENDS.
THE HOLE IN THE WALL GANG CAMP, Ashford, Connecticut
Founded by Paul Newman
Founded in 1988, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is the first camp founded in Paul Newman’s family of camps collectively known as SeriousFun Children’s Network. It was established so that children coping with serious illnesses could have a special hIdeout where they could simply be kids. The Camp, which served 288 campers in its first year, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012-2013 with 20,000 children and family members experiencing “a different kind of healing” annually. Each year, 2,500 are served onsite and 19,000 visits by the Hospital Outreach Program bring the fun and friendship of Camp into more than 20 sites throughout the Northeast – all free of charge.
Linda Cavicchio’s ticket was drawn and she named The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp as her choice to send her $300.00 winnings. I will be sending $300 to this organization instead of $270.00 because yesterday I heard from Linda that she is making this donation because her cousin’s 10-year old granddaughter, Brianna, has a very rare form of brain cancer and will be using the services of Paul Newman’s camp this summer. This donation needs to be in full.
STATEN ISLAND MEALS-ON-WHEELS
Fran Calamera, who happens to be Linda Cavicchio’s good friend and who was sitting right next to Lucky Linda, won the other half of our monthly charity raffle Wednesday evening. And because it wouldn’t be appropriate to award Linda the whole $300 and not Fran, I will send the complete $300 that Fran won to our local Meals on Wheels. You will remember that Joe Tornello from Meals on Wheels spoke to our group several months ago. And, needless to say, Meals on Wheels fits closely with our 2014 initiative to provide FOOD and/or MONEY FOR FOOD to our community’s hungry. We’ll try to resume our 10% for administrative costs next month (but I can’t guarantee….)
Meals on Wheels of Staten Island, Inc. has a straight-forward mission to provide two nutritious meals each day to those 60 years of age or older who can no longer shop for or prepare their own meals. Each and every one of us knows and loves Meals on Wheels; it’s a concept so simple but no necessary. It’s ingenious and we are so glad to be able to contribute to this organization once again.
Update on our 2014 Adopt-a-Pantry Initiative
We are so excited and gratified to find that this very simple, easy to put forward idea has taken a real foothold in our community. It is our goal to find business owners, organizations and individuals to be donors to fund our nearly 40 food pantries throughout the year. Our plan is easy. The Donor must commit to a six-month stint with the pantry of their choice (or we can assign a pantry is that is more desirable). Gold Level Donors will contribute $500/month for six months; Silver Level Donors will contribute $350/month; and, Bronze Level Donors will contribute $200/month. The Diamond Level would be an exclusive honor to the Donor contributing $500/month for an entire yea.
It’s our hope and objective to have each and every one of you pursue at least one prospective Donor. This is an invaluable project and wouldn’t you feel so proud to be able to say, “I found a donor.” Everyone we approach has had nothing but complimentary comments about this initiative. I think we really hit on the perfect year-long initiative. And it’s my hope that we can encourage the Donors to have meaningful dialogs with the Pantries they choose with the hope that commitment will continue far beyond this first year of our plan.
Nino’s Restaurant Richmond Senior Services
Dairy Maid Ravioli Our Lady of Good Counsel
The Nicotra Foundation Trinity Lutheran Church
Linda Walsh Holy Rosary
Cabot Creamery St. Edward Food Pantry
St. Pio of Pietrelcina Society Holy Rosary
Staten Island Soroptimist International (not yet chosen)
FIDELIS CARE has made an auxilliary offer for our Adopt-a-Pantry campaign. Instead of opting for one of the monetary levels, Fidelis is offering us FOOD (fresh, boxed, canned) for each and every one of the pantries on our list. Chaitra Sanders, who is a member of our group and tireless worker for Fidelis Care is monitoring this contribution. Cha, as she likes to be called, explained that Fidelis will deliver the food and also provide short informational sessions to the populations of these pantries on the health insurances available to them. This is a win-win scenario. I have drafted a letter to go to the pantries (and Fidelis is currently reviewing it to be sure it says what it should say). We already have interest from the Salvation Army, Canterbury House and Christ Church.
I sent in our application for Staten Island Rotary Foundation’s grant opportunity. I requested $3,000 (to be split between two food pantries) as our request.
I have been contacted by NY1 to do an interview/article regarding our Adopt-a-Pantry initiative. I am awaiting a revised date from them; this would be very beneficial to our campaign.
SIGC Member Directory – This new idea is off and running and is being very capably managed by Linda Lyman. The idea is to list all our talents, skills, services, etc. for internal use by our 300+ members. Linda has set up a segregated e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org for this information. We want you to be able to network internally with all the other talented folks in our group. So if you are a beautician, mentor, bi-lingual tutor, electrician, website designer, medical insurance information person, attorney, accountant….you get the idea….submit a short bio to Linda to be included in our Directory. I will periodically send you drafts of what information we have to date (I sent it to you this past week). If you have questions, please contact Linda at the above e-mail. This is like free advertising. Mary and Michele suggested this (they own a travel agency). At the time, they were looking for a plumber.
The DREAM PROGRAM – www.dreamprogram.org We will be having a start up conversation with Mike Foote from Philadelphia to first and foremost determine if this project would “fly” here on Staten Island. Take a look at their website. This is an educational mentoring program that is, in my view, perfect. Deacon Paul Kosinski and administrators from the College of Staten Island, Wagner College and St. John’s University will meet in May for this initial meeting. There is a great deal of start-up work to discuss before we can consider delving in, but I am hopeful that this project will get traction here. I’m looking forward to setting the May date.
Successful Old Business
Prom Attire and Communion Attire - Our 2014 supply of donated prom attire was picked up from our bank storage unit by members of our Junior Giving Circle and they will be delivered to Port Richmond High School on Wednesday for distribution to the students there looking to attend their prom. We had approximately 200 dresses to donate and I thank you all for bringing on the chiffon once again this year.
We will be coordinating with Oakwood Community Church to hold a GIANT SPRING RUMMAGE/YARD SALE. We will let you know a date asap. Proceeds will help boost our savings account so we can continue with our birthday parties, administrative expenses (website, postage, etc.) AND we will all get rid of lots of extra “stuff.” It will be fun and profitable. I spoke to Gail from Oakwood and she thinks May 10 is Oakwood’s spring fling yard sale. I will confirm with her that we can or cannot piggyback with them. If they prefer to keep our two sales separate, we will set another date to display our treasures at the Oakwood site.
Our Junior Giving Circle at I.S. 75 (supervised by Samantha Pettinato) is now collecting eyeglasses and used cell phones to give to us to donate to our contacts. MaryBeth McCarthy does the back and forth with these items; we have been doing this for a number of years already; I’d love to know the numbers!?!?! (of phones and eyeglasses given)
Saturday, March 22 – Pack 5/Troop 5 Pancake Breakfast. This is our favorite little Cub Pack/Boy Scout Troop (Tina’s boys are members). The yummy breakfast will be held 9:00 a.m. – 11 a.m. at Our Lady Star of the Sea – O’Mara Hall; $5/person. There is a 50/50 raffle. Remember Tina’s e-mail is: email@example.com.
Sunday, March 23 – Soroptimist Ruby Award: For Women Helping Women. Our own Mary Traina and Michele Baialardo will be receiving the Ruby Award at a luncheon at The Hilton Garden Inn from noon to 4:00 p.m. The Luncheon is $70/person (red shoes optional).
Saturday, March 29 – Miss Staten Island 2014, Jamie Macchia, will be performing along with a great group of talented performers at the College of Staten Island from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Jamie’s proceeds will fund her platform of pediatric cancer research. You can order tickets through her website at: www.MissSI2014.eventbrite.com. This is another great opportunity to come together to honor one of our favorite members.
Sunday, March 30 - The South Shore Rotary’s mega AMERICANA Show at The Music Hall at Snug Harbor, 3:00 p.m.
AND, the ENTIRE month of March is Margaret Mary (Margaret Jr.)’s huge month-long campaign “Luck of the Irish” to benefit her “Little Sister,” Yesenia Parker (young girl shot and paralyzed last year). There will be a winner every day and Margaret has scared up unbelievable prizes.
Thursday, April 3 – This year’s Woman of Achievement Luncheon, noon in the Garden Pavilion at the Hilton Garden Inn.
Thursday, April 10 – “DINING OUT AGAINST HUNGER” – We will once again congregate at the Old Bermuda Inn (this has become an annual event for us). Last year we had 90 people Dining Out. Let’s try to equal or surpass that big turnout. We have 30+ people signed on already this year. Contact me if you want to get on this list. The dinner is $40 (which includes gratuity). This event closely mirrors our 2014 initiative to feed the hungry. Don’t forget to bring along Easter basket goodies for Dawn Casale and her team to construct baskets for underprivileged kids in our community.
Tuesday, April 15, a group of us will travel to the Ronald McDonald House in Long Island to prepare and serve the families housed there that particular evening. We went last year and it filled our hearts with great gratitude to be able to participate there. We are allowed ten people and have eight signed on so only two slots left. Please contact Tina Bilcher-Murphy right away if you want to join this opportunity; there are five slots left to fill. Tina will give you details on how to get there, what to take, etc. The ingredients are bought here and transported; all preparation is done when we arrive on Long Island; no prepared food is allowed. We leave here around 3 p.m. Remember Tina’s e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, April 20 is Easter and Dawn Casale, Laura Altieri and their team will have prepared Easter baskets for disadvantaged kids in our community. Please contribute Easter basket goodies NOW so the baskets can be made up in plenty of time for the big day. You can drop contributions to Dawn at 399 Lenevar Avenue.
**Saturday, April 26 at UAME Church will be Margaret Grandstaff’s beautiful baby shower for nearly 30 young, expectant or new mothers in the Stapleton area. She will be looking for diapers, baby food, clothing and baby equipment. Many times these mothers are starting out with nothing. This is the second year Margaret has hosted this event. Margaret will be collecting items right up to the last moment….every item counts. Margaret can use $$$, extra hands, supplies. Carol Crocitto will be supplying a dessert table. Please note we have supplemental information regarding this shower below.
**Margaret’s good will is really going to hit home this year. I met Alexya Infortuna while wiling away the hours at the hospital during Mike’s hip replacement recovery. We saw Alexya and her fiancé, Yusuf, every day. Yusuf was really struggling and Alexya was there every moment with him. Come to find out, this young couple has been engaged for over a year and they were enduring artificial insemination to try to have a child. A week before they found out that Alexya is carrying twin (girls, we know now), Yusuf was brutally attacked (he was on his way to pick up Alexya from work). Yusuf suffered extreme, life-threatening and life altering injuries. Their plates are way too full, but it occurred to me one evening that we should extend an invitation to Alexya to Margaret’s baby shower. Although I didn’t want to be intrusive, I did approach Alexya and she was delighted to be included….so she will be at Margaret’s baby shower on April 26. Additionally, Deacon Paul Kosinski answered my plea for two (we have to deal in doubles of everything for Alexya) cribs. In fact, because the delivery guys thought Pack ‘n Plays were cribs, Alexya “double-dipped” and got both cribs and Pack ‘n Plays. I was able to give Alexya $100 for the crib mattresses which was donated by one of our generous members.
We want to thank Michael Skinner, LCSW, Director of Mobile Intervention Teams at Staten Island Mental Health Society, Inc. for being our guest speaker on Wednesday evening. Mr. Skinner explained how his team is transitioning from Project Hope (which ended in February) to the new initiatives helping Hurricane Sandy survivors. He left us a very comprehensive report of what services are available and I am attaching it to your newsletters for your information.
GIFT BASKETS ASSIGNMENTS
January – Ginny Koeth
February – Jamie Macchia
March – Carole Speth
April – Jeanne Raleigh
May – Adrienne LaGressa and Phyllis Ballarino
June – Camille Stern and Joan Calabrisotto
July – Samantha Pettinato
August – Mirtha Moriarity
September – Carol Crocitto
October – Michele Baialardo and family
November – Kohl’s Girls
December – Eilean Kosinski
Please review the list below for basic ideas for food to bring to each meeting to be given to the food pantries. We will now try to distribute the foods you bring to the pantries not yet being sponsored by donors in our Adopt-a-Pantry program. Seniors and kids are particularly vulnerable this time of year.
SOUP WITH FLIP-TOPS (I.E., PROGRESSO)
BOXED MACARONI & CHEESE
CANNED OR POWDERED MILK OR PARMALOT
COFFEE (INSTANT OR REGULAR)
Always looking for used cell phones (to be refurbished to dial “911” for women on the streets), eyeglasses (for worldwide distribution), pennies/coins for food pantry food.
AND ALWAYS LOOKING FOR DONATIONS OF UNPERISHABLE FOOD FOR THE FOOD PANTRIES. MY PORCH, 240 GUYON AVENUE, HOLDS A TON!!!
Thought for the Day:
“Begin each day with a grateful Heart.”
A Poem Dedicated to the Staten Island Giving Circle By Dwight Owens
Giving doesn’t always require money cause time and effort are free.
Giving doesn’t require a resume; it doesn’t require a college degree.
Giving means sacrifice; it’s unselfish and it’s kind.
Giving can mean being a mentor; It’s not meant for those that whine.
Giving shows compassion; It can mean to serve or to volunteer.
But it has to be from the heart; it has to be sincere.
I give because God gave me a 2nd chance at life; It’s my destination.
I owe it all to him as part of my salvation.
I give to help save lives and to give others hope.
I don’t ever want people to be depressed or to sit around and mope.
I give because I literally get chills when I see others smile.
No matter what I’m going through, their joy makes everything worthwhile.
You should give because it could help someone else heal.
That could mean just listening to someone or providing a meal.
You should give because you didn’t get where you are by yourself.
No matter how successful you are, at some point you received someone else’s help.
You should give because it’s simply the right thing to do.
No matter what or how you give, I show my appreciation to you.
If you haven’t been a giver, then start doing it today.
Accidents happen; you may need the same help one day.
No matter how bad your situation may be, there is always someone worse.
It would be wise not to always do it for payback or to be reimbursed.
I’m impressed with the Giving Circle; I’m sure I’m not alone!
Thank you for making a difference; I encourage you to give on.
*The Staten Island Giving Circle is now accepting donations through our website. Please be advised that we are not a 501(3)(c) organization simply because the paperwork would be voluminous trying to track $10 and $20 donations individually. You can, if you choose, earmark your donations for your charity of choice (for a raffle pull) or tell us simply to “add to general fund” for community outreach activities.