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Neighbor to Neighbor: Volunteer work always a pleasure to undertake

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As a member of the Jamaica Postal Advisory Council (the group that worked with the good folks from the office of U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks to set up the program), I kept hearing that volunteers would be needed to set up and serve refreshments after the event. It has always been difficult for me to turn down a request for volunteers. When our council's terrific secretary, Maribel Marcus, was assigned the job of ordering the food, she and I both decided to work together serving. Rosedale Civic Association board member Joyce Lawrence and Mill Rivas from City Councilman Leroy Comrie's office and the Jamaica Postal Advisory Council also volunteered. Little did I anticipate what a pleasant experience that would be, even though we missed the ceremony at the post office.The day started early. We all agreed to be at our posts (either the post office, or the reception hall at the Guy R. Brewer United Democrat Club) by 9 a.m. Although I arrived early, the club's Audrey Sparks-Fussa had been there since 8:30 a.m., when she opened the doors. She was friendly immediately but also anxious to start the setting up work that had apparently begun the previous evening. Manny Caughman from William Scarborough's office and the Jamaica Postal Advisory Council had arranged for red, white and blue balloons, which Audrey drove to pick up along with tablecloths.As we finished putting them in place, the food was delivered by Maribel's always reliable suppliers, Stallone's Catering at 126-20 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park. In the meantime, Audrey arranged for transportation for those in need and did a fine job of keeping everything under control. She was busy every minute and pleasant every minute as well. She is a very gracious lady and a super volunteer. I don't usually heap praises on new acquaintances, but I told Archie Spigner and the other folks at the Guy R. Brewer United Democratic Club that they are fortunate to have such a talented, giving lady like Audrey. She, Maribel, Millie, Joyce and the caterer (along with funding from the Jamaica post office and U.S. Rep. Meeks' office) put smiles on the faces of everyone who stopped by for refreshments. We all had smiles and congratulations for Archie Spigner too.Regular readers of this column may have noted that I often work as part of a team (Frederick J. Kress and Joe Locoteta are the other two members) working with the Cornucopia Society and the Queens Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces. On May 14 we represented both organizations helping other volunteers clean up Veterans' Square and Vietnam Square in Rosedale for It's My Park Day.It was a beautiful day and we had a lot of good help from others who are always willing to help with necessary volunteer work. Boy Scout Master Chimienti brought two of his eager young scouts, David Fenty and Jeffrey Moore. Ann and Jim English, Artie Panebianco and Bruce Altenburg all completed our clean-up, trim-up, planting crew that day and our leader Fred rewarded each of us with an It's My Park Day shirt donated by Partnership for Parks and pizza donated by Queens Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces.In the middle of our event we were surprised to see a large group of young folks join us at Veterans' Square. Thinking they were there to help us, I went over to welcome them. "Maybe some other time," I was told.That day Coach JoAnn Arbitello from St. Clare's Roman Catholic Church's "The Lady Wildcats" had brought Charminique Walt, Crystal Sessons, Bionca Jones, Nikki Diaz, Shakeena Halsey, Helin Marte, Shannel, Carol Woody and Kylesha Waithe to try to raise funds for a trip to a New Orleans Tournament July 21 - 26 to give team members exposure for scholarships. They appreciated the generosity of passersby and hope others might want to help raise the $3500 they will need. If you care to participate, please make checks payable to: Positive Direction Program at St. Clare's R.C. Church and mail them to 137-35 Brookville Blvd., Rosedale, NY 11422. They'll be appreciated.On May 18 Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and Citibank invited members of various Queens precinct councils to attend Precinct Community Council Recognition Night held at Queens Museum of Art. The current exhibit "Edge of Desire: Recent Art in India" and "Fatal Love: South Asian American Art Now" and the permanent exhibit "Panorama of The City of New York" will be available through June. Sine the Kress/Loco­teta/Morris team also had a class in volunteer tree trimming, we could only stay long enough to greet friends, but then had to go to class. More about that next time.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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