By Eden Laikin
The Nassau County Women’s History Month Celebration and Fundraiser this week raised $10,000 for the Nassau Hurricane Recovery Fund, all of which will go directly to Nassau residents still struggling to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy.
More than 300 people attended the event, which was entitled Just Desserts, on Thursday evening at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration Hall. A dozen local bakeries and chocolate shops donated samplings of their signature desserts, and guests ate while buying raffles to win one of more than 120 prizes, donated by local businesses.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and his wife, Linda, honored 13 Nassau women during the event, presenting each with a citation and thanking them individually for extraordinary volunteerism – both after Sandy struck, and all year round.
Nassau Comptroller George Maragos and Legislator Rose Walker stopped by to recognize these “ordinary women who had performed extraordinary acts.”
County Executive Mangano honored several of the women for stepping up to help neighbors after the storm, despite their own damage and loss. Freeport residents Jean Blaney, Theresa Duran and Carolyn Jimenez were recognized for cooking nearly 2,000 hot meals and delivering them to those without electricity. West Hempstead High School teacher Michelle Lambo was recognized for her volunteer efforts in the storm ravaged communities of West Hempstead and Island Park, collecting donations for neighbors who lost their belongings. Liz Fox was honored for the care she gave to hundreds of pets displaced by Sandy, at the County’s Emergency Pet Shelter, right up until this week. Susan Rupp of Merrick was recognized for raising money to help a family in Baldwin who had no heat; coordinating the donations of comforters and blankets for another family; and hosting a fundraiser for an East Rockaway family she didn’t even know.
Unrelated to Sandy, Mangano recognized the following Nassau women for their lifetime of volunteering to make the County better for others – Laura Roventini and Barbara Romano of Valley Stream; Jean Prysock, a part-time Nassau Parks employee; Patricia Birbiglia, a 30-year employee of Abilities, Inc.; Barbara Falanga, a dedicated social worker and Amanda Luisa, a 23-year old college graduate who teamed up with friends to Wake Up East Meadow to the dangers of drug abuse. The County Executive honored Heather Senti, an employee of Nassau’s Office of Emergency Management, who made history at the age of 26 by becoming Lakeview (and Nassau County’s) first female fire chief.
The bakeries who donated desserts for the fundraising event were: Amato Sweet Home Bakery of Franklin Square, Francescos of Hicksville, Wall’s Bake Shop of Hewlett, Sapienza Bake Shop of Elmont, Jeanie’s Bakery of East Rockaway, The Sweet Peace of Lynbrook, A Taste of Home in North Bellmore, Que Rico Bakery of Freeport, Nics Party Pastries of Hicksville, Front Street Bakery in Rockville Centre, Oheka Castle in Huntington, Cake Boss-Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, NJ, Dortoni Bakery & Pastry Shoppe in Levittown, Chocolate Works in Valley Stream, Sweet Karma Desserts currently in East Meadow, soon to be Plainview; Papa’s Country Porch in Bohemia. Coffee was provided compliments of Dunkin Donuts of East Meadow.
County Executive Mangano created the Nassau Hurricane Recovery Fund to help those residents not eligible for FEMA, insurance or other governmental benefit programs. It’s operated by a board of police department chaplains, and is chaired by Rev Kevin M Smith, pastor at St Dominic’s Church in Oyster Bay.
Two restaurants – Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza in Wantagh and West Bistro in Bethpage – and the Cyclones minor league baseball team, are all planning fundraisers over the next few months. To see where to send donations to the NHRF, visit www.nassaurecovery.com.