A local business wanted to give back, and through fundraising was able to make children at Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York, based in Wading River, smile for Easter.
Raquel Fernandez, owner of Icon Properties in Port Jefferson and member of the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, said that she always wanted to create a charity after opening her agency in 2004.
But like everything in early 2020, COVID-19 halted their plans.
In what was supposed to be their first fundraising event to create and donate Easter baskets to three nonprofits across Long Island, they had to postpone it.
That didn’t stop Fernandez, she said. Right before the shutdown in March, she with her own children, brought over 300 baskets to Little Flower’s Wading River campus for kids ages 2 to 14.
“It was such a great feeling,” she said. “This was the last thing we were approved to do before nothing was allowed in. It gave a sense of normalcy.”
Fernandez said she wasn’t going to let the continuing pandemic stop her from helping again this year.
Icon Cares Inc. — the charitable part of Icon Properties, and a 501c3 nonprofit — was able to fundraise a bit with its second annual Hope Hops Around LI Campaign, that included hosting an event at Stony Brook’s The Bench on March 25.
The four-hour event sold out, Fernandez said, which had a guest list of 70 people. All the funds gathered were donated to Little Flower.
“We’re just trying to do something good,” she said. “It feels good to help out.”
During the event, there was a 50/50 draw, a silent basket auction and The Bench donated a portion of the proceeds when supporters bought The Blue Bunny — a specialty drink created for the event made of Stoli blueberry vodka, soda, lemonade and blue Curaçao liqueur.
“We’re really excited and hope this event becomes a staple,” Fernandez said.Her fundraising efforts raised more than $1,600.
Right before the event, 100 baskets were created and dropped off at Little Flower, which Taressa Harry, Little Flower’s director of communications, said would be gifted to the kids on Easter morning.
“Last year they reached out to us and we were really happy,” she said. “We love getting support especially when it’s from our local community.”
Little Flower is a 90-year-old nonprofit organization founded originally in Brooklyn, with its main campus in Wading River.
According to its website, the group has been committed to improving the lives and well-being of children by providing foster boarding home care, residential treatment care and, where appropriate, adoption. Their work focuses on strengthening the family so that they can provide a safe nurturing environment for raising children and to overcome a myriad of obstacles that threaten a child’s safety.
Harry said that donations like Icon Cares baskets goes a long way.
“The kids love any special treat they can get,” she said. “It shows them that there really are people who are pushing for them and cheering them on. It makes their day a little brighter, especially during the holidays where they can’t be home.”
Fernandez said the fundraising this year was a success and she looks forward to her next donation.
“We’re grateful to God that we can do something that helps out others,” she said.