Covid forced the formation of a new Lynbrook organization


After going out of business in 2020, Per Sempre Lodge 2344 in Lynbrook banded together with the its sister lodge and has become stronger than ever.

Among the many organizations that were forever changed from Covid was the Per Sempre Lodge no. 2344 in Lynbrook. Being hit hard by pandemic restrictions, they had to suspend large gatherings, fundraising events, and eventually close their home at 815 Sunrise Hwy. Through their lowest point, they joined with the Per Sempre Ladies Lodge and became reborn into the Order Sons and Daughter of Italy in America, OSIDA, Per Sempre Lodge no. 2344.

Per Sempre Lodge no. 2344 was instituted into the New York Grand Lodge, Order Sons of Italy in America on October 5, 1975. It began as an auxiliary to the Per Sempre Lodge, but became its own lodge on Feb. 2, 1977. Both lodges called the town of Rosedale home for over ten years. In 1998, they moved to the town of Cedarhurst, Long Island before moving again to Lynbrook in 2001.

Prior to 2020, both the lodges had their own separate personalities. The Per Sempre Lodge hosted events like cigar night and golf events. The Per Sempre Ladies Lodge hosted fashion shows, high tea parties, and craft nights.

Although both groups didn’t intertwine as much throughout the years, Robert Baccari — first vice president of OSIDA Per Sempre Lodge no. 2344 and member of the disbanded Per Sempre Lodge no. 2344 — said that the ladies lodge was always there to help and vice versa. Baccari mentioned that the idea of merging the two organizations always floated around, but it never happened until the pandemic shook things up.

“Our last installation of two separate lodges was March 2019,” Baccari said.

Baccari mentioned that in 2019 and prior, his lodge was involved with a lot of charity fundraisers. He said that his lodge raised money for organizations associated with cancer, autism, Alzheimer’s, and more.

“We raised $40,000 for cooley’s anemia,” Baccari said. “And with Covid, we weren’t allowed to do anything. How could you raise money if the state says, ‘Sorry, you can’t have a congregation of more than 10 people in a room together and you got to stay 15 feet away from each other’? You can’t. It’s impossible.”

Baccari said that the Per Sempre’s location struggled to pay rent due to the lack of members attending the meetings and events. This led to the organization closing down. The membership didn’t shut down however, but the organization’s establishment closed a few months into the pandemic.

“When we merged with the ladies lodge on May 13, 2021, we established a new lodge, keeping the men’s lodge name,” Baccari said.

Together, both lodges found a new home in Lynbrook at 78 Hempstead Ave., the home of the Knights of Columbus.

“One of our members said, ‘let me go and ask them if we can rent their home for our meetings’,” Baccari said. “They needed the money too because of Covid and they said ‘absolutely’.”

Now, the lodge has a general membership meeting and a council meeting monthly at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

Bacarri said that the Knights of Columbus support the lodge’s events and the lodge supports the Knights’ events. Recently, the lodge hosted a St. Patrick’s Day event and a St. Joseph Day celebration.

“For St. Patrick’s Day, we had corned beef, cabbage, and all its trimmings,” Bacarri said. “On the Italian side of the event, we had pasta dishes and at the end of the night we had zeppole san Giuseppe, which is a pastry.”

The men and women in the lodge sat down together, ate pastries, drank espresso, and commemorated the formation of the new lodge. Despite the name of the lodge being different, Baccari emphasized that everything from their commitment to charities to hosting fundraisers is still the same.

“We’re involved with New York State’s charity called The Gift of Sight where we raise money for seeing eye dogs,” Baccari said. “We also raise money for glasses that people need. Plus, we do local, state, and national scholarships for children.”

Baccari said that the lodge plans on hosting more events in the future and he stays optimistic that the formidable strength of the new-formed lodge will continue to provide help to those in need.