Oreste said they also provide scholarships to kids in the East Meadow School District. Additionally, the Odd Fellows have a booth in East Meadow Kiwanis Club’s annual Pride Day, he said.
Bonesso said he counseled the group to postpone their variance hearing when he heard there was some opposition. One of the petitioners, he said, was under the impression that the group was going to use the facility as a catering hall, which both he and Oreste said is untrue. “I don’t know where they got this from but it was completely off left field.” Oreste said.
The group meets the second and fourth Thursday of each month. “Other than that, the place is empty except when we have a fundraiser,” Oreste said. “They’re just under the wrong impression. So we wanted to have this meeting to explain to them what we’re all about.”
The group’s president — known as a Noble Grand — Tim Bila, is an East Meadow resident, as is the Noble Grand before him, Jack Toledano.
The Odd Fellows is a nationwide organization, and the Mineola-Pacific Lodge #125 has existed since 1912, Oreste said. In 2012, they celebrated their 100th anniversary at the Marriott Hotel in Uniondale.
There was no date for a rescheduled community meeting as the Herald went to press, but Oreste said that, when it does occur, about five members, including himself and Bonesso, will be present. “We’re good people and we just want to fit in,” he said. “Like we have been fitting in for six years in town without a problem.”