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Keeping up the holiday cheer

West Hempstead civic members hang decorations despite pandemic

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For the West Hempstead Community Support Association, keeping up the holiday spirit this year was a bit challenging. The group was forced to cancel its annual Holiday at Halls, a tree-lighting ceremony at Hall’s Pond Park. The group’s board members agreed, however, that it was still important to liven up the park and Hempstead Avenue with holiday decorations.

“That’s one of the entries into West Hempstead, and it’s something that we’ve done for many years,” WHCSA President Maureen Greenberg said. “While we couldn’t gather like we usually do, it was important for us to at least have the menorah for Hanukkah there, so that if people pass by, they could enjoy it.”

With the help of firefighters from the Lakeview Fire Department, which usually covers that part of the hamlet, association members hung lights, wreaths and ribbons in the area, which took two days. The efforts were coordinated by board beautification Chairwoman Marge Von Holten.

Board member Dorothy Krimsky said that if nothing else, the decorations could boost residents’ morale. “It’s still been very hard for people here,” she said. “I’ve been talking to storeowners who have not only lost their savings, but their rents are going up. It was important to put the lights up, because we’re hoping that this will lift people’s spirits. While we may not be going about things the same way, we’re still keeping up and doing what we can, and we’re working hard to support West Hempstead.”

Krimsky, who edits the civic association’s newsletter, said that while the group is short-staffed, members hope to keep residents informed on upcoming plans and activities. She said she expected the next newsletter to be mailed out by the end of January. Until then, she encouraged residents to check the group’s Facebook page, @whcsa, for upcoming events.

“We’re hoping that in the New Year, people can get back on their feet and participate more in our events,” Krimsky said. “We hope that people realize how important the civic association is. I think many of us have learned valuable lessons from this past year and have learned to appreciate some of the things we didn’t appreciate before.”

Greenberg acknowledged that her first year as the group’s president was difficult, met with unexpected challenges. Her focus, however, was on keeping residents safe.

“It was hard to make the decisions on the community’s behalf because my moral compass was to keep everybody healthy,” Greenberg said. “Of course, we wanted to have gatherings and we knew that some people were disappointed, but at the end of the day, it’s about everyone having their loved ones to go home to.”

The WHCSA hopes to hold a community meeting on Zoom sometime in January or February.