Mariano Rivera Hosts New Rochelle Holiday Feast

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HOPE Community Services client Michelle Oceguera presented cake to Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera in honor of his birthday on Nov. 29. Photo Credit: Justin Stock
Mariano Rivera signs the shirt of Alejandra Lopez during a Thanksgiving feast hosted by his church, Refuge of Hope, and HOPE Community Services. Photo Credit: Justin Stock

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. ‒ Yankee pitcher Mariano Rivera put a smile on the face of  Alejandra Lopez and 120 other children  Tuesday at a holiday feast in New Rochelle.

“It’s so nice that he comes in and gives us food so we won’t starve, because some people don’t have what we have,” said the New Rochelle girl. “I think he’s a great person.”

Rivera, the owner of Refuge of Hope Church in New Rochelle, hosted members of HOPE Community Services at AJ's Burgers near the church, which is currently under construction.

Rivera's church and his Mariano Rivera Foundation, which helps under-served youth and family members, provided the dinner with help from AJ's.

Rivera is well-known for his charitable endeavors on behalf of children and families through his foundation, which also addresses children’s needs through education, health and wellness, and social and economic development in his adopted home of New Rochelle and his native Panama.

HOPE, Westchester County’s largest direct provider of emergency food services, assists New Rochelle residents and the homeless.

“We’re very grateful to Rivera and his foundation for the support,” said Carole Troum, HOPE Community Services executive director. “It’s important for our clients, who have so little to feel that they matter,” Troum said.

“It’s not easy to live and be hungry in New Rochelle, which is an affluent community. This kind of helps their self-esteem,” she said. “He’s [Rivera] a great role model.”

Refuge of Hope Church also gave participants food bags with turkeys to take home.

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