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Hudson Valley Press


January 8th, 2014

Families 4 Families Gets Help From NRC and Santa



Santa and Cub Scouts at the Bishop Dunn Memorial School gymnasium prior to delivery. Photo: Mrs. Lo
NEWBURGH  – On the morning of December 24, rowers and parents from the Newburgh Rowing Club (“NRC”), along with “Santa” and “Mrs. Santa,” and other volunteers, helped Danielle Crinieri’s “Families 4 Families” deliver presents to deserving families in the City of Newburgh.

“This is one of the highlights of our community involvement, the rowers look forward to it all year,” said Juliana LoBiondo, Team Mom for the Newburgh Rowing Club and the Director of the Newburgh Rowing Student Ambassador Program, which provides free Learn to Swim, Learn to Row, and competitive rowing programs for underserved youth in the community.  Team Mom LoBiondo dressed as “Mrs. Santa” and Newburgh Rowing Club dad and retired City of Newburgh police officer James Cobey dressed as Santa Claus.

The delivery was the culmination of a huge effort by Families 4 Families, a grassroots organization headed up by Danielle Crinieri, to fulfill the “Wish Lists” of over 137 families in the City of Newburgh, said Team Mom LoBiondo.  Social workers identify deserving families, who create a family wish list.  Businesses, families then “adopt” a family or part of a family.  “Danielle has been doing this for almost a decade now;  she started out in her garage with a handful of families.  Now, the presents are dropped off at Bishop Dunn Memorial School, where they are stored until Wrapping week, where many people, primarily BDMS students, families, and former students, get together to help wrap the presents,” said LoBiondo.  “Danielle tries to make sure that not just the kids get presents, but the parents as well, and that they get a holiday meal too.  The families get clothes, winter gear, home goods, toys, and food.”

“Once again, I cannot begin to think the many, many people who made this happen,” said Danielle Crinieri, founder of Families 4 Families.  “There are so many people to thank, as always, we are truly blessed with a generous and giving community here in Newburgh.”

“We got to knock on the door, say ‘Merry Christmas’ – or ‘Feliz Navidad’ and hand out presents to the families,” said Anthony Solis, younger brother of Kelvin Vidalis, who is a freshman at Our Lady of Lourdes, a National Champion rower and member of the Newburgh Rowing Club.  “The kids, they all loved Santa, especially the little ones, and Mrs. Lo likes to hold the babies.  I had fun, I want to go again next year.”

“It’s great to be able to give back to the community like this,” said Dajour “Soup” Fisher, a freshman at the Harvey School in Katonah, NY, where he is on the varsity basketball and varsity football team, is a member of the Newburgh Rowing Club, and who is also a champion rower.  “I liked giving out the cookies to the little kids, it was a great day.”

For more information on Families 4 Families, contact Danielle Crinieri at crinieri2@yahoo.com.  For more information about the Newburgh Rowing Club, including scholarship programs, contact Coach Ed Kennedy at (845) 541-2313.



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