The Independent Order of Odd Fellows Mineola-Pacific Lodge #125 is seeking to move its lodge to 571 East Meadow Avenue. The all-male group, which purchased the property in April 2012 according to Treasurer Dominic Oreste, currently rents a storefront on 226 East Meadow Avenue.
The lodge comprises some 60 members, Oreste said, 25 of whom actively attend meetings, which occur twice a month. Originally based in Mineola, the group moved to East Meadow six years ago. Approximately 20 members of the group are East Meadow residents, Oreste said.
The group was set to have a variance hearing in December with the Town of Hempstead, but their attorney, William Bonesso, said they rescheduled it to Feb. 26 after they learned that a local resident had created a petition against their relocation. But Oreste said the residents have a misconception about the group, and they plan to host a community meeting at the East Meadow Public Library to answer questions and inform the community who they are. Initially scheduled for Jan. 22, the community meeting was canceled because of last week’s storm. A new date will be scheduled in the coming weeks, said Oreste, prior to their rescheduled variance hearing.
Oreste said the group purchased the new location on East Meadow Avenue because they required more room for fundraisers. Those fundraisers, he said, include pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners to benefit local organizations, such as East Meadow Boy Scouts. “Everything we do is all for the community,” Oreste said. “That’s what we’re all about.”
Other charitable activities the group participates in, according to Oreste, includes escorting children from MercyFirst — a Syosset-based agency that provides services and education for underprivileged children — on two trips a year: to Dave & Buster’s in Farmingdale the Saturday before Christmas, and on a summer fishing trip. The Odd Fellows pays for all costs.
The group also visits Camp Wakonda every June, Oreste said, which is a summer program for homeless children in Harriman State Park, and spends between $3,000 and $5,000 repairing facilities and campgrounds.