Alone, the unforeseen problems we’re bound to face in the future seem too far off to seek out the support of others. Of course, tomorrow can come very fast and that’s the mindset in which Mamaroneck Shares has initiated monthly block parties on Mamaroneck Avenue to raise money for local needs.
“We firmly if everybody does a little, it will help a lot and that’s the criteria we’re trying to get across,” says Mike Hynes, co-owner of the Irish Restaurant Molly Spillane’s and sitting member of The Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors.
The idea sprung out of
Starting with Keep-a-Breast, the local initiative consists of several Sound Shore residents who raise money for Race for the Cure, which is part of the Susan G. Coleman Foundation. Ms. Hauptman prefers the smaller subsidiaries over the national organization because 100% of the donations go to the cause.
A quarter of the money goes towards research and staying consistent with keeping the effort as accountable as possible, the firms donated to are usually small. The remaining 75% goes towards helping those in our surrounding communities. Staying right in the tri-state area, she says, grants go to provide mammography screenings, other preventive measures and medical and emotional support for the insured and uninsured.
The argument in favor of buying raffle tickets or showing up in support of the businesses on Mamaroneck Avenue is simple, according to Mr. Hynes. “Everybody has a mother and a sister,” he says.
Otherwise, none of the businesses staying open later or putting a band out in front of their establishments are obligated to donate the proceeds from the influx of business the party generates. Drawing upwards of 3,500 people to the avenue at the first block party on June 24th, Ms. Hauptman feels Mamaroneck Avenue will kick in what they need to. “We’re hoping at the end of the day, they’ll do the right thing,” she says.
But nailing down the actual numbers that businesses have and will contribute aren’t yet available, according to Tony Paniccia, of Vincent’s Garage, who operates off the main event on636 Fenimore Road. Nonetheless, he says, “The money keeps trickling in.”
Selling popcorn and ice water for the cause and having one of his big trucks on display for the kids, he’s gotten involved in the treasury side of things and was attracted to the idea of helping people right in town. In the past, for example, we’ve had hardships like the extensive flood damage from a few years ago, he says, and simple things like someone not having enough money for a wheelchair.
Having an impact on an organizational level, Mamaroneck Shares is directing funds towards The Community Action Program and The Larchmont/Mamaroneck Counseling Center. Serving Sound Shore along the numerous lines of social service, Ms. Hauptman does not diminish this important need among the community. “They are used an unbelievable amount,” she says, while worrying what people would do without them.
Nonetheless, Mamaroneck also wants to share something that sometimes is easily lost to the ordinary trials and tribulations of getting by. Bringing every body together, she says, the refrain of, “Oh My God, I haven’t seen you in so long,” was a common call at the first party.
Scattered about will be four or five bands, Fred Astaire Dance lessons, a stickball tournament, an obstacle course for the children and the friendliest of clowns ready with the face paint. Of course, Mamaroneck Avenue is home to a diverse ethnicity of foods such as Celtic, Indian, Asian, French, Porteguese and Italian.
But who among the nationalities makes the best food on the boulevard (and the world)? “Italians – of course,” joked Luciano Savone of Enzo’s. The bias found in the byline will certainly not challenge his assertion, as Mr. Paniccia put in a plug for Mr. Savone.
“I really like Enzo’s,” he said, but as for singling out the best, Mr. Paniccia proceeded with caution. “I don’t want to get in trouble,” he mused – with many friends among the proprietors on the street.
From that, it naturally follows that there was a cohesiveness already in play that helped makes this all possible. We work hard and work together to make this happen, said Mr. Savone.
Ms. Hauptman agrees in pointing out the extensive planning that takes place every Tuesday at Molly Spillane’s. “It’s been a lot of long nights,” she says, “but it’s all been worth it.
At the same time, she highlighted the efforts of resident who really have nothing to gain by sharing. The police, the volunteer fire department, Department of Public Works, the mayor and village manager among others, she says, have been coming to our meetings and that’s all on their time.
She had even more praise for the five DPW workers who showed up on June 24th to volunteer for the unenviable cleanup duties. “To me,” she says, “that’s what this is all about.”
Still, Mr. Hynes feels its important that people recognize how the local merchant stays involved when the block opens back up for business. Sponsoring the little league baseball team, slow pitch softball, the fire and police departments and the high school musical, he says, we give back, and by and large, the community benefits.
But for this one day, Mamaroneck Avenue is providing a home address to something other communities can take note of. “It’s a chance to see a community in action,” concludes Mr. Hynes, and that makes all the difference.