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Coney Island groups continue Thanksgiving tradition

On November 24, the Coney Island Gospel Assembly will once again partner with the Alliance for Coney Island and Gargiulo’s Restaurant, La Tombola Restaurant, and Luna Park to host its annual community Thanksgiving meal distribution.
“It is an honor to continue our tradition of over 60 years of serving Coney Island’s neediest,” said Pastor Constance Hulla. “The pandemic has made this event even more important, and we are glad to bring Coney Islanders a hot homemade meal for the holiday.”
With the generous donation of 100 turkeys from the Amazin’ Mets Foundation and the help of nearly three-dozen volunteers, over 1,000 ready-made Thanksgiving meals to-go will be distributed from La Tombola at 2102 Boardwalk West from noon to 3 p.m.
All food is on a first-come basis and attendees are encouraged to arrive early.
“Thanksgiving has always been a special day for me and my family,” said Nino Russo, co-owner of Gargiulo’s and La Tombola. “The Coney Island Gospel Assembly has taught us how to share all our gifts and extend them to our neighbors.”
In addition to curbside pick-up, Coney Island Gospel Assembly will also deliver family-portioned meals to anyone living in the 11224 zip code that is homebound or without transportation.
Other Sponsors include A&J Produce, Brooklyn Cyclones, Coney Island Starbucks, Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, iStar, Kings Highway Bakery, Liberty Coca-Cola, Luna Park, PCS Security and the Rotary Club of Verrazano.
“Feeding those who need a meal for Thanksgiving is a tradition,” said Alexandra Silversmith, executive director of the Alliance for Coney Island. “We encourage anyone who might need a meal to attend and grab a delicious Thanksgiving meal.”

Harbor Protectors initiative launches on Earth Day

Members of the Department of Environmental Protection, Coney Island Beautification Project, community leaders, and elected officials launched the Harbor Protectors initiative on Earth Day.
Thursday’s event was held on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island, and was attended by hundreds of students from P.S. 188, P.S. 288, and other nearby public schools.
The Harbor Protectors Initiative is a volunteer program co-designed by the Department of Environmental Protection and Coney Island Beautification Project.
The initiative hopes to attract volunteers by allowing them to sign up for specific clean-up projects in their neighborhoods and along Brooklyn’s waterways. Currently, Harbor Protectors plans on coordinating shoreline cleanups, rain garden restoration, and catch basin repairs.
“I grew up in Coney Island and it is still my home,” said Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontius. “Seeing the efforts of this new initiative coming together with a long-standing community organization like the Coney Island Beautification Project gives me great joy and hope as we work to protect the community from pollution.”
She advised the young audience to be mindful of their role.
“It is our job to show we care”Frontius said. “Protecting the planet is every generation’s responsibility, and now it is our turn.”
Councilman Mark Treyger echoed a similar sentiment.
“Earth Day is an important day, but shouldn’t everyday be Earth Day?” he asked. “This is called taking ownership of our community. Even if it’s just picking up trash, every little bit helps.”
Treyger also warned that climate change will only continue to affect Brooklyn, especially communities near the water.
“The effects of climate change are already present in this part of Coney Island,” he explained. “You see it when water overflows from the canal.”
After the speaking portion of the event, the students broke into groups and conducted a cleanup along Mermaid and Surf avenues, removing litter from the neighborhood’s sidewalks and streets.
The Coney Island Beautification Project is a civic organization created in the wake of Super-storm Sandy to encourage community involvement in conservation and resiliency efforts. For close to a decade, the group has conducted flood control, composting, and recycling programs.
“When you nonchalantly throw your potato chip bags, your cookie wrappers, your drink container, on the street, they directly end up in our waters,” said group president Pamela Pettyjohn. “Think before we toss, down the catch basin into the waters and onto the beaches.”

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