By MADDY VITALE
The Sea Isle City Italian American Club is a charitable organization that has served the local community for nearly 60 years, during which time the group’s volunteers have raised funds that benefit their scholarship program and other worthy causes.
On Aug. 4, the Jersey Shore was struck by a powerful storm that damaged the roof of the Italian American Club’s headquarters, which is located at 309 JFK Boulevard.
Subsequently, the building has also developed mold.
Now facing unexpected expenses to repair the roof and remediate the mold, the Italian American Club is forced to increase their fundraising efforts — which can be very challenging during a pandemic.
“Normally, we would be able to host in-person events to help raise the additional funds we need to fix the roof and clean up the mold, but due to the virus, this is impossible,” Club President Colleen Buch said in a press release. “We have always been an organization to help others in need, and now we are the ones who need help.”
To help make the needed repairs, the Italian American Club is once again hosting their annual Holiday Poinsettia and Wreath Sale — and, to raise additional money, they are adding a 50/50 Raffle.
The building sustained around $20,000 in damage. Mold remediation is estimated at about $6,700. New shingles, a new drop ceiling and new plywood have to be installed, Buch said.
Normally, the membership which is around 65 people, many of whom are generational members, hosts wine and cheese events and other social affairs and bingo nights to raise money. But amid COVID-19 that all stopped.
However, Buch noted that the outpouring of generosity from people both in Sea Isle and far away has been amazing since learning of the damage to the building. She said that the wreath and poinsettia sale is going very well and ahead of last year’s figures.
“We have had so many lovely people give donations,” she said in an interview. “We had a person from Virginia donate $100. People are stopping into my store here and said they would like to buy some wreaths and poinsettias. It has been so nice.”
Every year the club, which has been in existence in Sea Isle since about 1961, donates to causes such as Mike’s Seafood Polar Bear Run-Walk for Autism, the Gerard A. Desiderio Heart Walk, the Beacon Animal Shelter and a host of other charities.
Buch noted that Danny Otto, the former president, summed up what the Italian American Club is like.
“Danny says, ‘I always like to think of us as the uncle who doesn’t have children but will do everything for their nieces and nephews,’” Buch said.
The Poinsettia and Wreath Sale features high-quality plants, door swags, grave blankets and other seasonal items.
Order forms for the sale are available from club members or by emailing email@example.com.
Orders must be submitted by Nov. 29. Customers can pick up their orders on Dec. 5 at VFW Post 1963, 301 JFK Boulevard (next door to the Italian American Club).
“We are so blessed to have a great neighbor in the VFW,” Buch said. “They are opening their doors to us on December 5 so we can hold our annual sale, and we cannot thank the VFW enough.”
Raffle tickets, which cost $25 each, are also available from club members. The raffle drawing will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5.
The Italian American Club is also accepting donations from anyone who would like to support their restoration efforts and help the group continue their work in the community.
Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 444, Sea Isle City, N.J. 08243.
To learn more about Sea Isle City’s Italian American Club, their Poinsettia and Wreath Sale or their 50/50 Raffle, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Colleen Buch at 609-374-2721.