By Anita M. Belmonte, Director of Development, Salesian Boys & Girls Club
The Salesian Boys & Girls Club hosted its 14th Annual Pasta Dinner Fundraiser Friday, November 13. The event served 184 people a takeout family-style pasta meal along with a fun night of virtual bingo. The fundraiser was successful, raising over $17,000.
The Pasta Dinner has become a Salesian Boys & Girls Club tradition. The event was established 14 years ago by former Executive Director, Fr. John Nazzaro, SDB, to bring members, their families, and neighbors together to introduce the Club and the youth we serve. Over the years, it has become what Fr. John intended: a community gathering that participants look forward to attending each year to help raise funds for our young people. The event is also known for the variety of unique gift baskets; a practice began by Fr. John’s sister, Mariecarole Lojko, and her husband, Steve. This tradition has been passed down to Janet Triant, the club’s Executive Director, Michael Triant’s mother.
We knew we would be unable to host our traditional pasta dinner but wanted to provide a way to reconnect with our many families and friends. Since May, the Club provides a weekly hot family-style meal for our members and their families to enjoy at home. We decided to run the pasta dinner in the same manner. We served a take-out pasta meal consisting of the same pasta and meatballs, salad, bread, and dessert our supporters enjoy in a serving size large enough to accommodate four people. The dinner was donated again this year by Jeveli’s Restaurant and Sammy Carlo’s Delicatessen & Catering.
Dinner recipients and bingo players were provided with a Zoom invitation. After the dinners were picked up, Michael Triant welcomed guests, and Fr. Jack Janko, SDB, Director of the Salesian Community gave the Blessing via zoom, followed by Virtual Bingo.
Michael Gaeta, a Savio Prep High School alumnus and owner of Gaeta Entertainment, volunteered to host Virtual Bingo. Virtual Bingo added a fun way for participants to socialize at the event. Players enjoyed a variety of games with the chance to win unique gift baskets and prizes with a grand prize valued at $250 in cash and gift certificates. Virtual Bingo was sold out and a hit with participants and viewers.
We are extremely blessed and grateful to our families, friends, sponsors, and donors for their continued support of our mission and the youth we serve, especially during these difficult times. A very special thank you to the Salesian Communities, who so generously supported our event with your prayers and donations. May God bless you and your community and keep you safe and well.