Wyandanch, NY – In an effort to recognize residents of Suffolk's 15th Legislative District who have gone above and beyond supporting their community this past year, Legislator Jason Richberg recently held the first annual 15th Legislative District Community Awards.
“2020 has been a historically tough year – between the COVID pandemic, a summer highlighted by social and political unrest, and more of our neighbors struggling than ever before,” said Legislator Richberg. “But, as I have seen many times over my career in public service, there is nothing our community can’t accomplish when we come together. The community response I witnessed this past year was nothing short of epic, and I felt it was important to take the opportunity to recognize some of the residents who went above and beyond supporting their community.”
Nominations from the community were collected and awards were given in four categories: Community Effort, Rising Star, Leadership, and Group of the Year.
Group of the Year: Cops N’ Kids Long Island
Cops N’ Kids Long Island is a non-profit organization based in West Babylon with the mission of bridging the gap between law enforcement and youth. Cops N’ Kids has made significant contributions to the 15th legislative district community this year, including starting its own COVID-19 Meal Response Team through which over 7,000 meals were distributed to over 300 families during the pandemic. This holiday season, Cops N’ Kids Long Island sponsored Operation Give Back, collecting donations of new toys to support families in need in our community, as well as a winter clothing drive. Cops N’ Kids Long Island is willing to put in the work day in and day out to help lift up our youth and leave the 15th district better off than they found it.
Rising Star: Sam Law
Sam Law is the President and founder of Yung Hip Professionals Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission of enhancing the lives of the rising generation in at-risk communities through the powers of networking and entrepreneurship. Sam is a millennial with a mission. Her social and community advocacy has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, criminal justice reform, and affordable housing. Sam wants to be a part of building Long Island into a fair and equitable place for all residents. To accomplish this she has taken on several notable initiatives this past year including: holding donation, scholarship, and voter registration drives; organizing rallies to protest police brutality; supporting the youth in her community through virtual workshops and outreach; and much more. Sam is truly a rising star that everyone in the 15th district should be on the lookout for.
Community Effort Award: George Washington Carver Lodge #95
Members of the George Washington Carver Lodge No. 95 based in Wyandanch, also known as Free Masons, are men with a social conscience and charitable perspective who give back to their community in countless ways, including marching in parades, visiting the sick, feeding the less fortunate, and supporting first responders and government officials. During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, lodge members immediately began gathering personal protective equipment (PPE) to distribute to the community. Masks were in short supply, so the lodge spent hours sewing the masks themselves. The hand-sewn masks and other PPE were distributed to community members, assisted living facilities, and local government offices. The members of George Washington Carver Lodge No. 95 are an asset to their community who always show up.
Leadership Award: Jeff Garrett of Jeff’s Crab Shack
When COVID-19 hit Long Island last March, Jeff Garrett sprang into action. Jeff teamed up with Syed Hussain, owner of Straight Path Shell, to host weekly community outreach events in West Babylon and Wyandanch where fresh produce and other groceries were distributed to anyone in need. They started with a 6-foot table of produce and groceries to help anyone they could, but as COVID continued to spread and more people began to show up, more food tables were set up to accommodate. Demand continued to grow weekly, and so did the volunteers. Jeff reached out to the community for help and they responded in force. It was tough at times, as Jeff was depending on private donations to supplement his own. Every time he thought he would be overwhelmed by the demand, another contributor would step up. They expanded distribution to include household supplies, toiletries, clothing, school supplies and toys. The list of community members who showed up to support Jeff and his outreach effort is literally too long to list. It was all hands on deck, and Jeff’s leadership made it happen.