MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1156 on Boston Post Road was packed Monday afternoon for the annual Mamaroneck Senior Center Barbecue.
“It’s great. The staff here is very nice, we’re very proud,” said Gina Ricoddi, a Senior Center member. “They do excellent in everything.”
Mamaroneck Town Administrator Stephen Altieri organizes the event each year along with numerous other people and organizations. Altieri said that when they started the barbecue 12 to 15 years ago they were feeding 20 people, and now they feed more than 130 each year.
“It’s great. The seniors love it, and it is fun to do a little something for them,” he said.
This year Altieri, with help from Anna Denoy, Jill Fisher and other Recreation Department employees, made more than 150 hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as flank steak and sausage and peppers for the seniors at the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Senior Center. The center is at VFW Post 1156, at 1288 Boston Post Road in the Town of Mamaroneck. The town and the villages of Mamaroneck and Larchmont all have programs at this site.
“We are really lucky to have our cook out there,” Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson said to the crowd at the VFW. “I don’t know how many towns have an administrator that would stand out over a grill in the middle of the summer to serve food to other people.”
Besides having many volunteers to help cook, the barbecue was also staffed by officials from Mamaroneck Town and Village, as well as officials from the Village of Larchmont. Maria Gallagher, Senior Center coordinator, joked about their appearance at the lunch.
“When I invited all the village officials here, little did they know they would be putting on aprons and helping hand out food,” she said while everyone was eating.
Members of the Senior Center enjoyed dining together. The tables were prearranged so that friends would be sitting with each other, another effort put forth by volunteers to help make the function run smoother. Some of the members, born and raised in Mamaroneck, have been coming to the VFW since the 1950’s, when it was formally a dance hall on the weekends. The ability to reacquaint friends is a popular draw to the center.
“We started coming here and we love it,” said Anna Schepias, who sat with her husband, Anthony. “They do a great job with everything.”
“I enjoy it. It’s great,” said Jean Staropoli, a center member who grew up in Mamaroneck but now lives in New Rochelle. “I know a lot of people, it’s a happy place, and they do a lot of functions like this.”
The annual barbecue is a collaborative effort between the town administrator, the Recreation Department, the Highway Department, the Community Services Department and the Fire Department, which donates its kitchen and grill each year.
State Assembly member George Latimer spoke highly of the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Senior Center, its volunteers and its importance in the community.
“I think any of the public officials here can attest to this. The friendships you make here last far longer than any time spent in office,” he said. “We are a big family.”