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Bellmore Library kicks-off The Great Give Back

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The Bellmore Memorial Library will honor individuals and give back to the community as part of the Great Give Back, a day of service celebrated by libraries across the state. The initiative, which will run to the end of October, is a gesture by  library staff to thank those who worked throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure the well-being of families in need.

“This is a great way to acknowledge those community members and let them know we appreciate their work,” said children’s librarian Pam Pagones, who helped organize the project. “It’s an opportunity not just for us but for members of the community to give back as well.”

Half of the Great Give Back will be a food drive, with all donations going to the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District’s Community Cupboard, at Brookside School. The student-run organization helps feed roughly 50 families in the community.

A donation table is open in the library’s front lobby, and a list of needed items will be published weekly on the Cupboard’s Instagram page, @bmchsd_community_cupboard. The list will ensure that donations match what families need — “Purposeful giving,” Head of Reference Martha DiVittorio said.

“I love that this is one community organization working with another community org,” she continued. “It’s a privilege to be in that position to be able to help, especially this year. It’s a good time to show your gratitude.”

On Monday — the start of the first full week of the Give Back — several food donations had already come in.

The library will also honor and recognize individuals who are making a difference and serving the Bellmore community during these unprecedented times. Submissions for these “Hometown Heroes” — inspired by the Herald series of the same name, according to Pagones — can be entered by using the “Great Give Back 2020” tab on the library’s website, www.bellmorelibrary.org. The form can also be found at www.bellmorelibrary.org/great-give-back-2020.

Selected heroes and their stories will be included on a wall of honor in the library. Some will also be shared on the library’s social media pages. Submissions must answer basic background questions about the honoree, such as his or her occupation and why he or she deserves to be recognized. Recognition can be both big and small — “Even if you had a good experience with you pharmacist at CVS who gave you a flu shot,” DiVittorio said.

“We liked the Hometown Heroes idea because everyone is doing so much good work, but a lot of it goes unnoticed,” Jessica Premuto, head of the library’s children’s department, said. “We wanted to thank those members of the community.”

“We can’t do this without the community,” Pagones added.

DiVittorio, Pagones and Premuto organized the Great Give Back alongside librarian Veronica Enriquez; they have all been working in the building since it reopened in July. Patrons are welcome to browse inside the library, although they are asked to spend a maximum of 30 minutes indoors.

The end of October will also bring Halloween events to the library. On Oct. 23, the BenAnna Band will perform a virtual Halloween Show for children 8 and under. A virtual Halloween party will take place on Halloween for children 5 and under, Premuto said.