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Thursday, April 24, 2014

News
East Rockaway Kiwanis Club donates gift cards
$2,000 delivered to school district for those in need after Hurricane Sandy
Brian Croce/Herald
The Kiwanis Club of East Rockaway donated $2,000 worth of gift cards to the East Rockaway School District on Monday, who will then distribute the gift cards to families in need. Pictured from left are Superintendent Dr. Roseanne Melucci, Kiwanis Treasurer Debbie Hirschberg, Lieutenant Governor for the Long Island Southwest Division of Kiwanis Ethel Gilloon, Rhame Avenue Elementary School Principal Laura Guggino and district psychologist Tina Smith.

As people across East Rockaway continue to rebuild their homes and businesses after the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, every little bit of encouragement or and size donations helps.

The New York District Kiwanis Foundation, Inc. recently established $2,000 grants for its clubs in the New York District that have been affected by the storm. Ethel Gilloon, an East Rockaway resident and the lieutenant governor for the Long Island Southwest Division of Kiwanis, applied for the grant a little more than three weeks ago. On Monday, Gilloon and Kiwanis Club of East Rockaway Treasurer Debbie Hirschberg delivered $2,000 worth of gift cards to Rhame Avenue Elementary School to benefit families in need of the East Rockaway School District.

“It helps a little bit, but there are so many families that are still hurting,” Gilloon said. “We figured a little would help, we just wish it was more.”

Gilloon had asked school administrators for a list of stores that would be most helpful for those in need. The top three were Home Depot, Target and Walmart.

“It’s wonderful to be able to help the families because as the community liaison, we see the families and we have relationships with them,” said Laura Guggino, Rhame principal. “Everyday we have conversations with them, formally and informally, about how’s it going and what do you need?

Now, to be able to follow-up that conversation with, ‘oh, and by the way, this is a donation from Kiwanis, maybe this will help you with your rebuilding efforts,’” she continued. “It’s very heartwarming and appreciated by everyone in the community.”

District social workers and psychologists have a list of families who could use the gift cards and Guggino and her staff will distribute the cards as soon as possible.

“When Ethel called and said we have $2,000 we’d like to give to the families, it’s just so heartwarming that people give and continue to give,” said Superintendent Dr. Roseanne Melucci. “Everybody is trying really hard to take care of the members of the community. It’s beautiful and that’s what East Rockaway is all about — if somebody needs something, somebody steps up.”

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