Suffolk County legislators representing Huntington have named three residents as Women of Distinction.
In the 18th District, Legislator William “Doc” Spencer honored the Rev. Kim Gambino for her work at Helping Hand Rescue Mission feeding, clothing and otherwise supporting families in need. Hundreds of families have benefited from the programs run by Gambino and her volunteers.
In the 17th District, Legislator Tom Donnelly recognized Lisa Karrer and Deborah Porretto, a Huntington Station couple who formed Brett’s Bicycle Recycle to collect, repair and donate bicycles to hundreds of people in need of transportation. The pair recently shut the operation down after years of providing more than 500 recycled and refurbished bicycles, tricycles, skateboards and scooters to anyone who asked. They also trained volunteers to repair and refurbish the donations. The program was named for Lisa’s brother, Brett, who was killed in a motorcycle accident.
“Ms. Karrer and Ms. Porretto turned tragedy into action and demonstrated a spirited commitment to ensuring those in our community most in need are given one of the greatest and simplest pleasures, a bicycle,” Donnelly said. “It is a privilege to honor them as my Women of Distinction for 2021. On behalf of the entire community, I thank them for all that they have done.”
The Suffolk County Legislature honors noteworthy women throughout the County for their service and commitment to bettering their communities.
In addition to food, clothing and toys, Gambino organizes holiday outreaches, fundraisers and programs for babies and at-risk youth. When the Covid-19 epidemic hit last year, she and her organization stepped up to meet the increased demand for assistance. and are now regularly assisting three times as many families as they served in 2019. In 2020 alone, the Mission distributed more than 11,000 parcels of non-perishables, equal to more than 245 tons of food, and 4,000 USDA boxes that provided milk, eggs, cheese, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables. This does not include the hot meals the Mission provided 4 days a week during the height of the pandemic.
Pastor Dan Rivera from Huntington Assembly of God, said, “Huntington Station has been hit hard by the coronavirus, causing the basic needs of our neighbors to surge as the virus quickly spread. Throughout the dark days, Kim Gambino has been a light in our community that reflects, love, unity, hard work and commitment. She loves not only with her words, but with her actions. Kim has worked tirelessly to support hundreds of families and individuals in the community by providing for their nutritional needs as well as their emotional and spiritual needs.”
“No undertaking is ever too much for Reverend Kim. She is a dynamo who fills her time valuably, as well as humbly. She is very unassuming and does all of this without any fanfare,” Spencer said.