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MPCA drums up new membership from drive

The Morris Park Community Association has been looking to drum up new membership and pass the torch of leadership onto the next generation.

A membership drive has featured tabling on Saturday, May 3 in front of the Big Deal supermarket at 1018 Morris Park Avenue.  The association plans to set up at the Williamsbridge Road CVS next week and present at PTA meetings in the future.

The supermarket drive produced over 20 new members.

“It’s great for our first time out,” said Al D’Angelo, the new president of the MPCA. 

While there are many regulars at MPCA meetings over the age of 60, the organization is beginning to draw a younger crowd. 

“We want people to see that we’re inclusive and we are actively trying to get younger members,” D’Angelo said.

Chris Alessandro, who has been a member for 4 years, is the new blood MPCA strives to reach.  He approached the association a week before Italy’s stunning World Cup Victory, which prompted crowds in the tens of thousands to celebrate on Morris Park Avenue. 

Alessandro wanted to express Italian pride in the community with decorations such as painting parking meters red, white and green; MPCA was receptive to the idea and secured the approval for the festivities. 

Citing the association as a way to organize the community, Alessandro said, “I realized the neighborhood could pull together.”

Alessando, a Shermin-Williams paint company employee, was able to secure a donation of a machine costing over $1,000 for the 49th Precinct Community Affairs graffiti removal initiative. 

“The new blood can help a lot,” Alessandro offered. 

In addition to Alessandro’s success, D’Angelo has proposed voting by committee rather than the unilateral decisions of the Board of Elders to try to promote involvement of the younger members.

Some of the association’s committees are devoted to housing, youth, senior citizens, parade, sanitation and party rentals.

D’Angelo points to other incentives to join the association.

While many of the older members’ have grown children, younger members such as John Antonio Capozzolli have children who have had birthday parties at the association. 

 The available space is only one of the many perks of membership in the organization, as is a free copy of The Bronx Times Reporter, given as a gift for payment of an nual dues.

“Once they know all the benefits of the association, they’d be hard pressed not to join,” D’Angelo commented. 

Maryann Pierro has become a regular at meetings, stating, “I love this community, everyone is very supportive.”

Pierro has suffered harassment at the hands of inconsiderate neighbors, and received advice and good wishes from the crowd when she first came to a meeting at the association across the street from her apartment in early March. 

Since then, she has volunteered to help make websites for the association, as well as for 10-year-old Morris Park resident Nadia Uddin, who is searching for a kidney donation.

“I enjoy going to the meetings, learning what’s happening in the area,” Pierro said. “Morris Park is like a small town and it’s important that everyone come together and put what they can into it.”. 

The association holds weekly meetings, open to the public, on Wednesday nights at their 1824 Bronxdale Avenue headquarters. For more information, call 718-823-0596 or see Pierro’s website at www.morrisparkca.weebly.com.

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