The Dante Alighieri Society of Jersey City is raising funds for the victims of the earthquake that ravaged the central Italian region of Abruzzo on April 6. The death toll has reached about 300, with the major damage occurring in the province of L’Aquila, located 50 miles east of Rome. The earthquake registered a 6.3 on the Richter scale.
The Dante Alighieri Society held a meeting of its members regarding the relief fund at its Summit Avenue headquarters on Tuesday. As of Friday, the society had raised over $2,000, with the ultimate goal of raising $5,000 to send to agencies in Italy set up to give direct help to the victims.
Jersey City resident Silvana Kaminski, a native of the L’Aquila province, said last week that she did not lose any family members but was informed by relatives that “the destruction is so widespread that they have not been able to get to some of the surrounding villages to assess the level of destruction.”
Michael Ricciardone, a Dante Alighieri board member, is another Jersey City resident who did not lose any loved ones but has family members studying at a college in L’Aquila. He said, “[My loved ones] are safe, but please pray for all of those who are experiencing such pain, suffering and loss.”
The 118-member Dante Alighieri Society of Jersey City was founded in 1909 to help preserve and celebrate Italian culture. There is an 11-member board of trustees. The president of the board is a longtime member and current City Council candidate Guy Catrillo.
Giving help in any way
Tuesday’s board meeting opened with a moment of silence for the earthquake victims, led by Dante Alighieri member Rev. Leonard Comes.
The board then discussed the relief effort, mentioning upcoming fundraising events such as an April 25 Tuscan dinner prepared by a chef imported from Florence, Italy.
Members also brought donations to the board meeting. And donations came from some non-members, such as Mayor Jerramiah Healy, who gave $500 from his campaign fund for the relief effort.
Donations can be made payable to the Dante Alighieri Society Earthquake Relief Fund, and they will direct the proceeds to the appropriate agency.
Mail checks to: The Dante Alighieri Society of Jersey City, 562 Summit Ave., Jersey City, N.J. 07306, or drop off checks to: Michael Morsella/Morsella & Cupo Deli, 576 Summit Ave., or to Michael Ricciardone/Salon St. John, 3023 Kennedy Blvd. For more information, call (201) 653-9657.
Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at email@example.com.