Motherly love! Charity brunch honors special ladies • Brooklyn Paper

Motherly love! Charity brunch honors special ladies

Motherly love: Mother’s Day honoree Marie Scordaeas gets hugs and kisses from her grandsons Nichols and Marco Petroni.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

Moms — they’re the gift that keeps on giving.

More than 200 people packed Sirico’s catering hall on 13th Avenue on April 12 for the Shorefront Toys for Tots annual Mother’s Day brunch — which honored eight matriarchs from Southern Brooklyn’s waterfront community.

“We had wonderful honorees who have done a lot of good in the community, not just for children, but for people of all ages,” said Shorefront Toys for Tots founder Brian Gottlieb.

Gottlieb started Shorefront Toys for Tots — which provides needy Southern Brooklyn children with gifts during the holiday season — in 1995, in honor of his mother Myrna, who passed away two years prior. Gottlieb said his mother, despite having to raise him alone, always stressed the importance of civic activism.

“She always had the philosophy that she beat into me at an early age, that you can’t just sit and watch — you have to do. You have to be active,” said Gottlieb, who served as chairman of Community Board 13 2002–06, and remains active on the panel. “You have to do the right thing by the future generations.”

That’s why the Mother’s Day brunch — a tradition since 2003 — both collects money and presents for children and also pays tribute to the leading ladies of the community.

This year, the celebration acknowledged the efforts of Carey Gardens Tenants Association head Shirley Aikens, neighborhood activist Sheila Boyd, IS 237 assistant principal Rosanna Conenna, District 21 Community Education Council president Heather Ann Fiorica, Art’s House School executive director Sophia Harrison, Pastor Connie Hulla of the Coney Island Gospel Assembly, Astella Development Corporation administrative assistant Marie Scordaras, and PS 253 principal Lisa Speroni.

Gottlieb said that the socially minded spirit of the honorees is what inspires Shorefront Toys for Tots, which has touched the lives of more than 30,000 local kids.

“We help put a smile on the faces of the children,” said Gottlieb. “It’s just a little message, something showing that people care.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.
That’s the ticket: Rarjana Raruk gets an arm’s length from raffle girl Joyce Fingerm at the Shorefront Toys for Tots brunch on April 12.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

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