‘I wanted to challenge myself to do something influential.’
Lou Bernardi, New Hyde Park
“I’m a college baseball coach and my season was canceled due to COVID-19. People can sulk or use this opportunity to help others. I decided I can’t just sit home and do nothing.
“I didn’t get sick, and I didn’t lose my job. I was lucky, so I wanted to challenge myself to do something influential and effect change in a positive way. There were a lot of people who helped with the collection, donation and distribution of food. Overall, we probably fed over 5,000 people. A lot of restaurants helped out and donated meals along the way.
“I led a huge toy drive for Toys for Tots, donated over 500 toys to the Marine Corps in Garden City. We donated 150 lunches to the Randall’s Island counter-terrorism unit for Christmas, handed out gloves, masks, hand sanitizers, whatever I could get my hands on. We donated some food to some hospitals; we went to some food banks with various organizations.
In light of the pandemic, ordinary citizens are giving above and beyond what they’re expended to do and just care for others.
“Our mission was first responder-based. They were out there on the front lines and getting sick. It was great for morale to go to these various precincts. When the whole ‘defund the police’ and anti-police movement happened and we took that as an opportunity to double down and say, ‘A month ago we were praising these people and now we’re bashing them and telling them they shouldn’t exist.’
“So, it was another way to use our platform and influence something good and give back and help others. In light of the pandemic, ordinary citizens are giving above and beyond what they’re expended to do and just care for others.
“I’m a New Hyde Park resident and we just donated a batting cage to the New Hyde Park Police Athletic League to let the kids develop their skills.
“My motto throughout this whole journey is giving back and helping others. Stand for what you believe in; if you have any outlet whatsoever, whether is social media or email, use your network to promote some good because there’s a lot of bad stuff that we see.”