‘It’s our obligation to give back to the community’

Goshen. Italian American Association donates toys to veterans’ families and other organizations.

| 21 Dec 2020 | 09:27

The Central Orange County Italian-American Association has been doing good deeds for decades and this Christmas season is no different.

On Dec. 15, members of the association, comprised of individuals of Italian-American heritage, met at the Dikeman Engine & Hose Co. in Goshen to turn over dozens of toys they had purchased to veterans Pete and Laura Rollins, for distribution to veteran families in need.

The association engages in these acts of generosity, said one of their members, “Because we feel it’s our obligation to give back to the community and to those who are less fortunate, especially during the holidays. It’s nice to be in a position to give back to the community and people who deserve it.”

The association has also been giving to The House on the Hill in Goshen, which provides daycare for migrant children for more than 30 years.

“Every year this great group of men bring a toy for every child at House on the Hill,” said Sister Jean Graffweg, director of House on the Hill Child Development Center. “They usually come to the center and one dresses up as Santa. The children sing Christmas songs and it’s a wonderful time for the staff as well as the children. This year, due to COVID, we couldn’t do that but they came with toys anyway. This great group of men bring so much joy to our children from our infants to our 4-year-olds and we are so grateful for their generosity!”

The group awards 10 to 12 college scholarships every year for high school seniors in Orange County. This year, eleven deserving students received $1,000 each.

And the Italian-American Association donates toys to Garnet Health (formerly Orange Regional Medical Center).

Darrigan DeMattos, Donor Relations assistant at Garnet Health, along with Pamela Yosh, Director of Development, received the gift toys on behalf of their pediatric patients.

“It means a great deal to us to have people donate during this difficult year and we are very grateful to them for thinking of Garnet Health,” said DeMattos.

The group allocates anywhere from $500 to $650 to each of the three organizations they serve.

The association’s mission is to share and advance Italian American culture through community service. Fund raising takes place at two main events: the Great American Weekend, cancelled this year due to Covid-19, and a golf outing at West Hills Country Club every September.

If you would like to contribute or inquire about becoming a member, you can contact President Joe Casillo at 845-313-8484