March 29, 2022 By Christian Murray
The Kiwanis Club of Sunnyside is holding a special dinner event Sunday to celebrate its 75th anniversary, honoring three well known residents for their community service during the pandemic.
The club, known best for its role in organizing the annual Flag Day parade along Greenpoint Avenue, will be honoring Sofia Moncayo, coordinator of the Mosaic Church food pantry on 43rd Avenue, Rena Hershberger, owner of The Globe Tavern who raised money for food pantries, and Jaime-Faye Bean, the former executive director of Sunnyside Shines who also co-founded Astoria Together, which aided restaurants.
“These three people really deserve to be honored for the work they have done for the community,” said Howard Brickman, a longtime Sunnyside resident and president of the Kiwanis club. “They have helped a lot of people in need.”
The 75th anniversary celebration dinner is being held at the Westside Tennis Club in Forest Hills, with the proceeds going toward supporting the club.
The Sunnyside organization, which currently has about 40 members, aids the local food pantries and also has a key club for high school students that cultivates and promotes leadership skills and community service. The club continues to organize the Sunnyside Flag Day event, which has been taking place in June each year for more than 50 years.
The organization represents a big part of Sunnyside’s history. It was founded by the likes of Henri Billharz in 1947, as in Billharz Plumbing, with the support of Lou Lodati, who was dubbed the mayor of Sunnyside. Ed Lynch, as in Lynch Funeral Home., was also an early member of the organization and so too was Joe Sabba, founder of the Woodside Herald, whose granddaughter owns the publication today.
Brickman, who has been club president for the past three years, said that the club is continuing its community work and he is determined to keep the organization going—despite other community-based institutions such as the Woodside Sunnyside Lion’s Club folding in recent years.
“There’s a lot of people before me who had done all this community work for many, many years. So, I’m just part of the legacy of 75 years’ worth of community work,” Brickman said. “We are definitely keeping it going.”
For more information on the event or to donate, e-mail [email protected]
Thank you so much for publicizing this event and other Sunnyside Kiwanis events. Especially thank you for noting my father in law Henri X Billharz, the club founder. Just FYI Robert Billharz is a Past President, Joanne Billharz is a Past Lt Governor (the first female in the division, and Henri J Billharz is a member. This is a wonderful, valuable and fun organization and we are so thankful that they are still actively helping our community. Congratulations to all the honorees and all of the committee for having such great and needed functions all year long.