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March 2019

L to R: Dr. Tina Sadarangani (President); Laura Dupuis (Officer); and Audrey Smith (Officer)

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Staff Report

 

With over 200 volunteers, Larchmont Friends of the Family {LFOF} are ready to help local families across the Mamaroneck School District in need.

 

Larchmont Friends of the Family is a local not for profit volunteer organization that has been helping neighbors in the community for 21 years. The group offers practical and financial support to those faced with medical crisis or loss, to bring them back to a sense of normalcy.

 

Dr. Tina Sadarangani, president of the organization for the past two years, explains,  “We can’t support our mission of Neighbors helping Neighbors without the support of the community. The amount of families in need are greater than ever before.”

 

To accomplish their work, LFOF relies on donations through multiple fundraising efforts throughout the year. This past February, they held  Have a Heart Campaign, a representation for loving one another and helping the community.

 

“It is the most meaningful way to share random acts of kindness,’’ Sadarangani mentions. “We view it as a way that the community can feel connected to our organization.”

 

In March, they will be offering bracket columns for NCAA March Madness. People can choose their favorite college teams and make predictions. Every individual can fill out their brackets and they will be scored. Winners will receive prizes. The entry fee is around $50.

 

The largest fundraising activity for LFOF is their annual Gala, usually held the first Friday in November. In 2018, they raised $100,000.

 

The Piggy Bank project is an ongoing effort where school children in the Mamaroneck School District can collect coins for the organization.  Flyers are sent home from the schools explaining the initiative to the Parents.

 

Relying on social media, LFOF has a communication team that reaches out to the public through their posts on Facebook, Love Larchmont, and on other websites.

The President and the Board of Directors conduct their annual meeting in March. Every time they have a new family referred to them, they convene an executive committee to discuss the family’s needs. The Board includes President Tina Sadarangani, Dr. Mark Levy, Kathy Staudt, Mary Fleming Stein and Dr. Cindy Yalowitz. Officers are John McGarr, Treasurer, Audrey Smith, Secretary, Nancy Borzain, Jolita Gudaitis Haigis and Jeryl Hofmann.

 

Schools are a big source of the organizations referrals,  Sadarangani says. “Last year we helped many families and we delivered over 150 meals.”

 

Referred families are kept anonymous. “We preserve confidentiality. Only 2 people know the names of the families we are helping. It makes it challenging, but it is to protect the family.”

 

The LFOF President is passionate about her work. She is very involved with an individuals well-being. On the faculty of NYU, she is raising 3 children and very involved with LFOF. “For every family we help, we create a care plan. The families that we serve are so thankful for us.”

 

LFOF was founded in 1997 by several Larchmont residents who suffered severe illnesses in their own families. They realized that the community support they were given was very meaningful. With appreciation for the help they received, they started the organization.

 

Now, referred families must reside in the 10538 zip code or have  dependent children in the Mamaroneck School District or be impacted by a medical crisis or loss of one of its members. Privacy is important. The organization also needs to know that the family is interested in hearing from LFOF.

 

Two members of the Assessment Team meet with the family to discuss their needs. Some of the services LFOF provides include: meals sent in coolers delivered to the front door, housecleaning, groceries, laundry services, transportation, childcare, counseling, short term financial help, health aides and more. Usually services are provided for 3 months at a time.

 

“”We always need volunteers to help,’’ Sadarangani concludes. “We never push anyone away and we do not discriminate.  People can be of service to their neighbors by referring them to us,  if there is a need.

 

“There are so many challenges in this world today. We really hope that people will help us carry on this important work with their financial support that ultimately helps the entire community.”

 

To become a volunteer or to donate, visit larchmontfriendsofthefamily.org