NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Students and faculty members at a New Rochelle school were really “blessed” to be able to help families in need this Thanksgiving, says its assistant director of ministry.
Sean D’Alfonso spoke as young volunteers from the Upper and Lower Schools of Iona Preparatory, an all-boys, Roman Catholic institution, loaded turkeys, potatoes and other holiday staples onto a small school bus.
Three such busloads of perishable and non-perishable items were delivered to St. Charles Borromeo and St. Mark’s churches in Harlem.
The large neighborhood in northern Manhattan known as a major African-American residential, cultural and business center has been undergoing significant gentrification since the 1990s, but pockets of poverty still exist.
D’Alfonso and Brother Lucian Knaap, the school’s director of ministry, headed up the food drive.
D’Alfonso made note of a “generous donation” from alumnus Mark D’Urso.
A member of the school’s Class of 1980, D’Urso once owned a supermarket in the racially and culturally diverse Queens neighborhood of Richmond Hill.
He was known, media reports said, as a humanitarian who loved to give back to the community by donating food to charitable organizations such as City Harvest and the Kiwanis Foundation.
According to D’Alfonso, D’Urso contributed $2,000 to the school’s food drive, which enabled organizers to buy 40 turkeys, 150 pounds of potatoes, 150 pounds of onions and 100 pounds of rice, among other things.
The drive, D’Alfonso said, is just one of many community service projects that students take part in during the school year.
They are “blessed,” he said, to be able to use “their time and talent for the greater good of our communities.”