Reunion dance raised funds and food to help the hungry in Catonsville

Letter to the editor

November 18, 2011

The Loverde Family Community Fund thanks donors and sponsors of the 25th reunion dance of the legendary Annapolis-based band, the Van Dykes.

The dance was attended by 500 followers from around the country.

It raised funds for the Loverde Family Fund's annual Thanksgiving Day dinner for neighbors in need in greater Catonsville.

The dance also collected 1,000 pounds of food for the CEFM Network to fill the gap in many local pantries.

The fund is especially grateful to Scittino's Italian Market on Edmondson Avenue for discounting food year-round and making it possible to serve additional dinners on a monthly basis.

Joe Loverde, who started the Thanksgiving Day dinner five years ago with his wife and business partner, Cindy, said he was deeply moved by the generosity of the Catonsville community. I have always said this is a great community with a great heart. Even in this time of economic stress, it always comes through."

He said that "the annual reunion dance really speaks for a generation of my peers. We all met and grew up together at the Arbutus Teen Center. The heart of that center was Helen Mack, who ran it for 16 years, and was a mentor to everyone, who passed through its doors. Without her, I would never have met Albert Brown and his brothers, who are the Van Dykes. These dinners are in no small way an extension of Helen Mack's optimism and giving spirit.

Also contributing to the dance and next week's Thanksgiving dinner, expected to serve 200 people, are Frank Kolarek, League of Dreams; Ernest Sengebusch, Catonsville Optical Co.; George Brookhart, Maryland Residential Realty; Tom Wethern, Dimitri's International Grill; Cathy Schneider, Edible Arrangements; Tom Medicus, Hilton Flowers; the Rose Group; and Dave Carney, The Wine Bin;

The Catonsville Y; Kay Burch and John Jackson, Northrop Grumman; Joe and Pam Chilcoat of the 7-Eleven stores in Catonsville and Arbutus; Tim Sisk, Bond Distributing Co.; Tom and Joanne Booth of Booth Properties; and Ed Hastry, president, Catonsville Lions Club;

George Deal, president, Catonsville Ravens Club; Larry Aaronson, director of Community College of Baltimore County Enterprise Institute/Women's Expo; CEFM Network; Kirby Spencer, Coldwell Banker; Sandra Kurtinitis, president, Community College of Baltimore County; Del. Steven DeBoy; state Sen. Ed Kasemeyer; Del. James Malone;

Wayne McDowell, McDowell's Complete Chimney Service; Councilman Tom Quirk; Hon. Susan Souder; Cal Oren, president, Rotary Club of Catonsville; Kevin Gibbons-O'Neill, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Department of Athletics; and Barry Unger, Utz Quality Foods.

The Loverde Family Fund's Thanksgiving dinner will be held Thursday, Nov. 24, at Rice Auditorium on the grounds of Spring Grove State Hospital.

Sixty volunteers will be on hand to serve the dinner of turkey and all the trimmings. Making a return engagement, members of the Van Dykes will entertain, along with local singer, Cara Costantini. We've received a special alert that Santa Claus has put the dinner on his schedule.

For information, call Joe Loverde at 410-788-2425.

On behalf of the board of directors of the Loverde Family Community Fund, we are deeply appreciative.

Mary Toth, board member

Loverde Family Community Fund

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