2009-12-18 / Letters

First Congregational Gives Thanks

Dear Editor,

During this Advent season of hope, joy and expectation, The First Con - gre gational Church of Rockaway Beach wishes to express gratitude for support received from so many in the community throughout the past year. We operate a food pantry which has been struggling to feed those in need during these tough economic times. This past summer, generous donors to the 100th Precinct Community Coun - cil, spearheaded by Council President Danny Ruscillo, helped fill the shelves of our food pantry, which were empty at the time. The Council has been doing a phenomenal job of assisting a number of churches " and non-profit groups in the area with monthly food collections occurring in the apartment buildings along Shorefront Parkway. Volunteers Nor - man Hornstein, Sandy Jones, Kath - leen Selig and Reverend Eleni Mar - udis have continuously collected food to help feed people in need in our community. The Council is to be commen - ded for helping at least six Rockaway churches in addition to ours, so far this year. More recently, Ruscillo also arranged for donations to reach our church from a November food collection run by Sodexo Healthcare, managers of the Food and Nutrition De - partment at Peninsula Hospital Cen - ter. Then, just before Thanksgiving, Brother Tom Trager and the members of the Rockaway Rotary Club sent donations our way following their successful food drive in the Waldbaum's shopping center. Last, but not least, the students and families of PS 183 in Rockaway Beach generously donated food to our pantry more than once this past year. These contributions make it possible for our church volunteers to distribute many bags of food to families in the Rockaways who are in dire need.

On Thanksgiving Day, the group "Rock and Wrap it Up" continued their tradition of coming to our church hall and providing a full home-cooked meal to all those we serve in the neighborhood. This tradition is a wonderful new complement to our Interfaith Thanksgiving Ser - vice, conducted jointly with Temple Beth-El of Rockaway Park for 83 years in a row. Love truly is the common thread that runs through the efforts of these fine groups and individuals; you help our church continue its mission of spreading God's love throughout the world.

Additionally, our annual Christmas bazaar and fresh ham dinner, held this past weekend, is an important fundraiser and opportunity to share a lovely family-style meal with one another. We wish to thank the merchants of the Rockaway Peninsula and The Five Towns who graciously contributed raffle gifts to help make it a successful and beautiful event. We encourage readers of The Wave to pa - t ronize these generous businesses, in - cluding: Belle Harbor Chemists, Brown's Hardware, Danielle's Rock - away Florist, Elegante Pizza, Fashion Wave, Fast Break, Harbor Optics, Just Beautiful Salon, King's Phar - macy, Last Stop Gourmet Shop, Mes - erole Funeral Home, Mirkin Vision Care, Nick's Service Station, O'Con - nor Funeral Home, On the Rocks Liquor Store, Perfumerie, Queens Coun ty Savings Bank (Rockaway Park), RSC Restaurant (Rockaway Seafood), Sands Point Physical Ther - apy, Station Liquors, Stop and Shop— Inwood , Surfside Bagels, The Gift is Love, The Wave, Tiberio Restaurant and Video Waves.

First Congregational Church, form - ed in 1886, was one of the earliest houses of worship in the Rockaways. An open and affirming member of the United Church of Christ, we are located at 320 Beach 94 Street, due east of the Cross Bay Bridge ramps. For further information about our church, join us any Sunday for worship at 11 a.m., call 718-634-4701, e-mail us at firstcongregational@ earthlink.net, or visit our website at www.first-congregational. com. No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here at First Congrega tion - al!

VIVIAN CARTER

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