Morris Park Community Association, Senator Klein raise funds for Italian earthquake victims

Said Klein, “This earthquake is something that pulled on the heartstrings of most of the community.”
Photo courtesy of Senator Jeff Klein’s office

Victims of a massive earthquake in central Italy are going to be getting help from the Morris Park and greater borough community.

A local fundraising effort to benefit the National Italian American Foundation’s Italian American Relief Fund has been extended through the end of October by local coordinators.

The goal is to raise money locally to help Italians affected by the 6.2 magnitude quake near Amatrice, Italy on Wednesday, August 24 that claimed 292 lives, according to published reports.

Helping to organize the effort are the Morris Park Community Association and Senator Jeff Klein, who are working with the NIAF.

Many of Morris Park residents, who are Italian-American, want to remember their kin, said Klein.

“This is something that pulls on the heartstrings of most of the community,” he said, noting that during an earlier Italian disaster, his office and the Morris Park community held an event that raised over $5,000 for victims.

Money for the recent earthquake victims was collected during a recent Temptations concert in Loreto Park on Wednesday, August 31 that was hosted by Klein, and at a MPCA meeting on Thursday, September 1.

“We are extending this through October,” said Tony Signorile, MPCA president, adding “As Italian-Americans…we help other countries, and it is time for everyone to come together to help the Italian relief effort.”

The community association president said that it really did not matter if people in the community had relatives or friends in the affected Rieti region of Italy, where parts of some towns like Amatrice were leveled, but that aid was a matter of humanitarian assistance.

The earthquake was so powerful that it woke people up in Rome, about 100 miles away, according to reports.

Alex Benedetto, an NIAF spokeswoman, said that since the earthquake, many groups have wanted to steer money towards their relief efforts or are holding fundraising events and donating what is raised to the NIAF fund.

In turn, she said, the NIAF has posted logos of organizations that have pledged to help on a website they have established for the relief fund: www.italianamericanrelief.org.

“It is a community effort that we are leading,” said Benedetto, adding “We have an outpouring of support of people and groups who want to work with us.”

For people who want to contribute to the relief effort through Senator Jeff Klein’s office or the MPCA, checks should be made payable to the ‘NIAF.’

Checks can be dropped off at the MPCA at 1824 Bronxdale Avenue between the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, said Signorile. They can also be dropped off at Senator Klein’s district office, a spokeswoman said.

For more information contact either the MPCA at (718) 823-0596 or Senator Klein’s office at (718) 822-2049.

According to the NIAF website, the organization created the Italian American Relief effort in 2012 and it is a “coordinated effort to provide immediate response when natural catastrophes and other disasters occur in Italy.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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