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Monday, October 20, 2014

Dedicating themselves to the community
Peninsula Kiwanis helps Five Towns in crisis and year-round
By Ann E. Friedman
Courtesy Early Learning Center
Peninsula Kiwanis lends a helping hand to several local organizations throughout the year and in emergencies such as Hurricane Sandy. At the Five Towns Early Learning Center in Inwood, Frank Mistero, Dominic Cura, Frank Basile and Kevin Cooney handed out Christmas gifts to the children, along with Center Executive Director Pepper Robinson.

The day after Hurricane Sandy struck Long Island, members of the Peninsula Kiwanis Club were cutting downed trees, coordinating efforts to get generators to the Five Towns and reaching out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to have food and water sent to the community they cherish.

Hewlett resident and Peninsula Kiwanis past-president Chris McGrath said the organization has a rich 40-year history in the Five Towns, especially with helping families during tragic times. “We reached out to FEMA to get non-kosher and kosher food and water,” he said. “They sent three trailers and our members unloaded them for two straight weekends and got everybody what they

needed.”

Peninsula Kiwanis President Ron Marciano and his wife helped unload the trailers at Cedarhurst Village Hall amid dealing with a flooded home in Oceanside and business, Burnside Collision, in Inwood. “I don’t know what kept us going,” he said. “There was a need in the community and in my family, and in our culture, you just pick up and go.”

Marciano added that many of the club’s more than 70 members were not affected by the hurricane so they were able to help people and communities who were impacted by Sandy’s wrath. “Kiwanis traditionally does for others,” he said. “And there is still a need to try and do things.”

Aside from their efforts during Hurricane Sandy, McGrath said the Peninsula Kiwanis does about 32 major service projects during the course of the year. Their annual Dream Christmas event provides toys, clothing and food to more than 700 children at the Crossroads School in Inwood and they also host a bi-annual food drive in order to stock local food pantries.

“Last year we sent 25 children, those who wouldn’t think about going to camp, to Kamp Kiwanis [in upstate Taberg],” McGrath said. “And the ESL room and the roof at the Five Towns Child Care Center [in Inwood] were built by Kiwanis.”

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