Community Chest South Shore, an 85-year-old charitable organization that helps groups, institutions and people, celebrated its achievements in 2017 at its annual meeting in the Boehm Room of the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library on Monday.
Through its Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, Community Chest aids people and families who are enduring financial hardships or lost their home because of a disaster such as a fire.
More than a year ago, the group known for many years as the Five Towns Community Chest changed its name and refocused its mission. “We were challenged to adapt and we emerged refocused and reorganizes,” said President Cal Nathan.
Celebrating the strength of the community, one group and two people were recognized for their civic efforts.
The Lawrence Men’s Club received the Public Service Award. The club from the Lawrence Yacht & Country Club donated $11,000. “The club contributed greatly to Community Chest and helps us to host a number of events at the club,” said Steven Schlaff, a past president, who serves on the board as secretary.
Lorenzo Sistrunk, executive director of the Five Towns Community Center, was presented with the Joseph M. Sokol Memorial Award. “He works tirelessly with his dedicated staff,” Schlaff said. “He is passionate and always ready to roll up his sleeves and help, he is ‘Mr. Heart,’ a champion for those who are suffering and in need. He is a beacon of light in dark times in our community, and for all we are grateful.”
Board member Michelle Shorenstein has immersed herself in Community Chest from ensuring there were sponsors of the organization’s annual 5K run to placing all the lawns to promote the Labor Day weekend event. She received the Board Leadership Award.
“She is an invaluable and dedicated member of our board and her community service is exemplary and laudable,” Nathan said. “In her brief time, Michelle and her son, Andrew, who serves on the Youth Board, are quickly becoming fixtures at Community Chest South Shore.”
Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, who took an oath of office a month ago, swore in the group’s officers and board members. “It’s really my honor and my privilege to swear in all of you fine ladies and gentlemen, who so selflessly give of your time, and I’m sure your blood, sweat and tears to help others in our communities,” she said.
The Cedarhurst-based organization supports the Adam Barsel Scholarship Fund with its annual three-on-three basketball tournament, CAHAL, a yeshiva-based program for children with learning disabilities; the Center for Adult Life Enrichment, Chai Lifeline, Chevra Hatzalah Rockaways & Nassau County, the volunteer ambulance service; the Five Towns Community Center, the Five Towns Early Learning Center, the Girl Scouts, the Inwood Buccaneers, The Marion & Aaron Gural JCC, Kulanu, Let All The Children Play, a nonprofit dedicated to developing accessible playgrounds; the Lev Leytzan medical clowns, Nassau County auxiliary police, Rock and Wrap It Up!, SIBSPlace, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, the Rina Shkolnik kosher food pantry that is now part of the JCC’s sustenance center, Tempo Group and TOVA mentoring program.