The Morris Park Community Association and Senator Jeff Klein hosted a successful gala to benefit earthquake victims in the Abruzzo region of Italy. The benefit was held on Friday, April 24 and raised over $10,000 for the Italian Red Cross.
The gala included dinner and dancing at Maestro’s Caters, located at 1703 Bronxdale Avenue. D.J. Serge provided entertainment. Over 200 people came out to the event, which was well attended by political and community leaders and dignitaries from the Italian-American community.
Senator Klein, Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, as well as John Calvelli from the National Italian American Foundation, David Pope president of the Generosa Pope Foundation, and Francesco Talo of the Consul General of Italy in New York were in attendance.
“I’m so proud to see our community come together to support the victims of this horrific tragedy,” Klein said. “The effects of an earthquake of this magnitude are felt around the world, and we must do our part as human beings to reach out to those in need. Our hearts go out to all of Italy.”
Members of the Morris Park Community Association were delighted by the response from the community, which included an outpouring of support from area businesses. Al D’Angelo, president of the MPCA, said that he was especially pleased by a most generous contribution from Suburban Carting.
“It was a nice night not only because people came, but because they were generous with there money during the evening,” said D’Angelo. “Those in attendance were eager to contribute to the effort, and it was definitely a big success.”
Some in attendance will go to Italy to see the devastation and coordinate relief efforts.
“I was called to go to the embassy to start looking at coordinating the relief effort,” Calvelli said. “I will be in Abruzzo in the relief area on Wednesday so we can look at the needs of the people and what we can do here in America to help our friends and family.”
Calvelli is a first generation American whose grandmother and wife’s family came from the Abruzzo region. He said that he was willing to take time out of his busy schedule as executive vice-president of the Wildlife Conservation Society to visit Italy because the tragedy hit so close to home.
“The great thing about this country is that you can be both Italian and American,” Calvelli said. “We should never forget where we came from, our ancestral home. Right now they are in a period of great need, and we need to be there for them.”
Donations for the Italian Earthquake Relief effort are still being accepted. To make a donation, please send a check to Senator Klein’s office at 3713 E. Tremont Avenue. Klein’s office can be reached at (718) 822 – 2049.