There are many people across Valley Stream who do good deeds every day for no other reason than to help others in need. At Blessed Sacrament Church on North Central Avenue, these efforts can be seen year-round, especially during Easter.
On March 26, volunteers gathered at Blessed Sacrament to assemble baskets with food and vouchers to supermarkets to hand out to families in need. The volunteers then delivered the baskets to 58 families, mostly in the northern and western sections of Valley Stream.
Judy Miccio, the director of the Blessed Sacrament Parish Outreach Center, said the church donates food to all families who inquire, no matter their religion or if they attend mass. “It’s our mission to help whoever is in need,” she said. “It’s part of what we’re taught as Catholics to do.”
While its food pantry is open throughout the year, Miccio said Blessed Sacrament hands out food baskets during holidays like Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving, in addition to the days leading up to the first day of school.
The food baskets were filled with non-perishable items, including pasta, sauce, cereal and canned goods. Of the 58 families who received baskets last week, there were also 72 Easter baskets handed out to children of those families. In addition, families also received a food voucher for King Kullen or Key Food so they can pick up fresh food as well.
“You just see the happiness on their faces when you knock on their door and say you’re from Blessed Sacrament,” said Mark Daley, a parishioner at the church for 16 years and an avid volunteer. Daley is also the moderator of the church’s altar service and sings in the choir. He added that he enjoys volunteering because he likes giving back to his church and community.
Miccio said that all her hard work in running the food pantry would be for naught without the help of her dedicated volunteers. “What gets done here would not get done the way it does without them,” she said. “They’re so dedicated and they’re such wonderful people.”
This was Miccio’s 12th year handing out food baskets to needy families for Easter and said it’s a “mixed-bag” of emotions. “You feel great to do it,” she said, “but at the same time you know these families are struggling so you want to do whatever you can to help them.”