photo: Nikki Lucas, Eddie Di Benedetto with Brookdale Medical Center Staff
In the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic, community leaders and business owners find ways to give back in support of the first responders that are putting their lives at risk daily to treat patients with the Coronavirus and Coronavirus related diseases.
Nikki Lucas, Community Organizer and long-time proponent and advocate of the East New York Community, join forces with the D.R.E.A.M. Foundation and its board member, Eddie Di Benedetto, owner of Caterina’s Pizzeria on 907 Livonia Avenue to support hospital staff at Brookdale Hospital with free lunch for 200 staff members. Caterina’s Pizzeria has been in the East New York Community since 1971.
“Giving back to the East New York Community has always been part of who I am and I have always been grateful for the chance to serve the people of East New York. East New York residents and customers of my establishment have been a blessing to me since the 1970’s. It is only fitting that I invest my services in support of those who are daily at risk of contracting this dreadful disease”, stated Di Benedetto.
“I decided to bring some sort of relief to the medical heroes at the hospitals by providing pizzas during lunch “Break.” My hats go off to the Hospital Staff including Management, Personnel, Doctors, Nurses, Technicians all the way down to Janitors in saving lives and caring for the afflicted. The tireless work that they are giving to our community is invaluable”, Di Benedetto added.
Nikki Lucas stated, “Our essential workers are members of our communities. They are not only compromising their health, but they are also sacrificing the level of engagement they are able to spend with their families. Seeing sickness and death daily resulting from COVID-19 can affect their minds, bodies and spirits. If we can provide safe ways to ease some levels of stress for those who sacrifice for us then I’m all in.”
Mr. Di Benedetto is an East New York native. He is a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School., former member of Community Board #5, Co-founder and Chairman of The New Lots Avenue Merchants Association and a Philanthropist. Di Benedetto is a firm believer of hiring from within the Community and granting the formerly incarcerated job opportunities and a second chance at life.
Mr. Di Benedetto is also an executive board member for former District Leader DeCosta Headley, who is a long-time supporter of East New York. Mr. Headley has stayed connected and committed to the betterment of individuals in East New York and Brownsville.
DeCosta Headley, founder of the D.R.E.A.M. Foundation also expressed a debt of gratitude to Mr. Di Benedetto. “One of the reasons why I invited Eddie into the Foundation because he has always had a heart for the community. He is a staple in East New York. The D.R.E.A.M. Foundation’s ultimate goal is to be of service in a way that empowers the people who are most marginalized and disenfranchised and Eddie epitomizes our efforts.”
Headley added, “I too also celebrate the continuum of care that our first responders are giving to the community. This is a work that we must do together. We are better together. This must be the mantra that we carry.”
DeCosta Headley is a long-time resident of East New York. He is the former first vice chair of the Kings County Democratic party and also served on the school board for District 19 for several years.
Subscribe to EastNewYork.com for updates on health, housing, politics, development, employment and entrepreneurship.