Nearly 200 people attended the 20th Anniversary dinner for Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland (CCCSR) on October 20th. Four area individuals were recognized for their support of CCCSR’s mission and presented certificates by Martha Robles, Executive Director of CCCSR. The honorees, chosen based on their support of the mission of CCCSR – to build a compassionate and just society – each spoke of their personal experiences that led them to support the organization.
The 2016 honorees included Jeanine and Ron Binaghi of Stokes Farm in Old Tappan and Alex Bursztein of the Legal Aid Society of Rockland, who received Community Service Awards; Scott Curti of Curti’s Landscaping who received the Business Community Service Award; and Marilyn and Don Colucci who were presented with the Lifetime Volunteer Community Service Award.
Jeanine and Ron Binaghi were honored for donating over 4000 pounds of fresh produce to CCCSR’s food pantry over the past several years. Ron Binaghi spoke about their desire to simply help their neighbors in any way possible.
Alex Bursztein, Executive Director of the Legal Aid Society of Rockland, has been a stalwart champion of those who have difficulty navigating the legal system to remain in their homes. In addition to representing clients in civil cases, the Legal Aid Society also serves as an institutional provider of legal representation to children in the Family Court in cases involving abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency, PINS and custody and visitation.
Scott Curti, founder of Curti’s Landscaping, spoke about being an only child but growing up with nine cousins and understanding the need to help others when there simply isn’t enough food to go around. Curti’s Landscaping will assist with the installation of the new inspiration garden that will be installed at the offices of CCCSR in the spring.
Marilyn and Don Colucci have dedicated much of the past 30 years to helping those less fortunate through their parish at St. Francis in West Nyack as well as through programs in the county that help feed and clothe the homeless. Their genuine love of each other, family and faith were evident as they addressed those in attendance arm in arm while they spoke.
Brick by Brick Campaign
On the tables at the dinner were bricks holding helium balloon centerpieces. The bricks were to draw attention to the “Brick by Brick” campaign which will help create an inspirational garden on the front lawn of the CCCSR in Haverstraw. Participants will have an opportunity to put their name on the brick, or the name of someone they would like to honor or an inspirational phrase that might help someone who finds themselves in the garden in the future. The cost is $100 for a 4 x 4 brick and $175 for an 8 x 8 brick. The garden will be created over the winter and unveiled at the Blessing of the Soil on April 22, 2017 at noon at CCCSR at 78 Hudson Avenue in Haverstraw.
“Our hope is that the garden will provide a place for people who come to us with a stressful situation to reduce some of the anxiety associated with finding themselves in need of help,” stated Martha Robles. “Some people come to us needing food. Some ask for help before electricity is turned off. Some arrive hopeless with nowhere else to turn before being evicted. Regardless of religious affiliation, race, ethnicity or any other factor, we are there to help. We provide food, funds, and shoulders to lean on. Now we want to provide a place where people can sit and alleviate some of the anxiety they may be feeling,” she added. Those who want to purchase a brick can contact Martha Robles at 845-942-5791, Martha.Robles@archny.org or visit www.ccsrockland.org.
Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland is an affiliate of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York and is a not-for-profit 501c3 social service agency established in 1996 by the eighteen Catholic parishes of Rockland County. Through compassionate and professional case management, Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland assists individuals and families of all ages, from every race, and ethnic group from throughout Rockland County regardless of their religious affiliation. The organization’s focus is to provide the necessities of life, such as food, shelter and emergency assistance for those in need. Programs include information and referral, general case management, homelessness and eviction prevention, emergency financial assistance, Nutritional Outreach and Education, a food pantry, and immigration legal services.