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Kiwanis hosts first Taste of Valley Stream

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Members of the Valley Stream Kiwanis Club as well as their friends and family members gathered on Aug. 14 at the American Legion Hall on Roosevelt Avenue to celebrate the club’s inaugural Taste of Valley Stream.

The event served many purposes, according to club President Richard Ramos, including driving up membership, honoring its own members as well as selfless individuals in the community, and engendering pride in Valley Stream through food from various establishments in and around the neighborhood.

“Service organizations can be a very difficult thing in this day and age,” Ramos told the group. “ … There are so many things pulling people in different directions … and it’s only through people that an organization like this can survive, grow and thrive.”

The Valley Stream chapter of Kiwanis International reformed last year after a brief hiatus, and has since grown its membership to more than 50 people, according to Ramos.

All of the food at the event was donated from local eateries Chicken Delicious, Greek Pie Factory, Genovese Pizza, Jimenez Deli, Red Mango and Mitchell’s Restaurant, and Ramos said he hoped to one day line the entire American Legion hall with trays from local restaurants.

In addition to the food, Valley Streamer Craig Taylor, chief executive officer of and founder of the Only Love Foundation was honored for his work helping people living in the Kenyan slums, and club member Tina Casteluzzo was recognized as Kiwanian of the Year for her dedication to the organization. Nassau County Legislator William Gaylor also issued the two county citations for their work.

Kiwanis International is a nonprofit service organization, divided into local chapters, dedicated to helping disadvantaged children both locally and internationally.