Providing daily essential items for homeless veterans and other individuals in the community, Islip High School Interact Club organized a district-wide donation event for United Veterans Beacon House in Bay Shore.
Alongside Islip Rotary, Interact Club gathered all the donations in the lobby of the high school once classes ended on Thursday, Jan. 16, and transported them to a truck outside with the destination of Beacon House. The items were transported in preparation for distribution on Monday, Jan. 20.
“For the Martin Luther King Day of Service, we wanted to collect stuff for the Beacon House, and they help out homeless veterans,” said Brendan Iafrate, a senior at the high school and Interact Club member. “We want to do what we can, and we live in a great community, which can really come together.”
The donation program began before the holidays, though Interact coordinator Nancy Reagan said the kickoff really started after the New Year.
“We have been making it a community effort through the other schools in the district, through the Rotary and through our PTAs,” Reagan said. “We were able to collect a lot of stuff here for the United Veterans Beacon House. Next year, we are going to double the mountain.”
Rotarian Denise Kondas, the Islip Rotary-Interact liaison, expressed that this project was through and through an Interact project.
“It is their idea, and we just help support it,” Kondas said. “That is what Rotary Club does with Interact.”
Beacon House president and CEO, Frank Amalfitano, called Interact’s work on this fantastic.
“I was really impressed by the enthusiasm and their organization, and they handled everything,” said Amalfitano, who is also a Rotarian. “It is great to see the youth of the community to get so involved in recognizing their veterans in the community.”
Suffolk County Legis. Tom Cilmi was also present for the event. A collection outside his office on East Main Street in East Islip was the main avenue of donation for the project. Cilmi, who is also a Rotarian, commended Interact Club’s efforts on the project as well as Beacon House for its community service.
“United Veterans Beacon House is a great local organization. They provide housing and supplies for homeless veterans,” Cilmi added.