Longtime Vannie Park volunteer honored


A longtime Highbridge resident has been honored by the New York state Office for the Aging for his volunteer work in the Van Cortlandt Park area, where he has been a treasurer with the Van Cortlandt Park Jewish Center.

Howard Kamiel, whose mantra is “count me in,” has been inspired by his parents’ volunteer efforts in the Bronx. Having lived in the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative since 1970 and as a postmaster for 34 years. His volunteer work started in the AmPark Naturally Occurring Retirement Community, which was in his service area. That is where he got to know the residents there very personally.

“Growing up, I saw that my parents always were volunteering for the various organizations in our community,” Kamiel said. “They instilled in me the drive to help others. I want to honor them and will continue to volunteer and help as much as I can.”

His parents, Simon and Shirley (Finkelman), did their part to help their community. Simon was a post office supervisor and a founding member of the West Bronx Jewish Community Council. Shirley was also involved in community activities.

During COVID-19, Kamiel showed how his voluntarism paid off as NORC worked with a supermarket to deliver foods and supplies to the homebound and frail.

After his retirement, Kamiel became more involved in community boards and institutions, resolving to maintain the best quality of life for its residents. He was honored by the Van Cortlandt area synagogue for his dedication and service to the community.

Hurricane victims
get $40,000 in relief

Ponce Bank and the New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently announced they are donating $40,000 to provide relief following the devastation of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

The donations will be made in partnership with Comité Noviembre and the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce. The announcement was made last week at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Isla Verde, in Puerto Rico where the SOMOS NY annual conference was held, that brought together politicians, business and community leaders from the state of New York.

“We at Ponce Bank are very pleased to offer this important donation that is granted under the bank’s initiative, Hurricane Relief Fund ‘Always with the Community’” said Carlos Naudon, president of Ponce Bank. “Our contribution goes directly to non-profit organizations, located in the communities most affected by Hurricane Fiona.”

Nick Lugo, president of the New York City Hispanic Chamber, said the organization prides itself in its work as an advocate promoting economic development in New York City and in the islands of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

The president of Comité Noviembre, Teresa A. Santiago, said that she is extremely grateful to Ponce Bank for this contribution to their disaster relief efforts.

“This donation will help us continue to provide humanitarian aid to the communities on the island,” she said. “We will be providing goods and covering various types of needs that people in the western section of the island have, hand in hand with local non-profit organizations.”

Quenia Abreu, president of the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce, was also grateful for the help with the Domincan Republic following the storm.

“There are still many families with children in need and this money is going to make a big difference in their lives,” she said. “The New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce is proud to have been chosen by Ponce Bank to be a partner in this important and necessary effort.”

Ponce Bank “has a strong history of being responsive when communities are in crisis and this effort is a natural fit for us to continue in support of these terrific organizations that are making a difference during these difficult times,” added Steve Tsavaris, Ponce Bank chair.