STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — It’s a holiday tradition filled with the spirit of the season and brimming with plenty of dancing and musical entertainment, gift baskets and prizes awarded to children and families.
And the guest of honor? Who else but Santa himself who always steals the show as children eagerly await his arrival and the surprises that follow.
Each year at holiday time, the Emergency Children’s Help Organization (ECHO) hosts a festive Grant Recipient Dinner in Nicotra’s Ballroom at the Hilton Garden Inn for families who’ve benefited from the foundation.
As ECHO continues with its mission to provide financial assistance to children and families experiencing medical crises, children, parents and siblings gather each year to mix and mingle.
Sebastian Angelico, ECHO’s founder and chairman, noted the event is a time for families with children with special needs to gather and interact, while affording board members, children and families a time to get to know one another.
“I would like to thank everyone from the ECHO family for attending our sixth annual holiday celebration,” said Angelico. “It is a blessing to see all of the ECHO families enjoying the day filled with good food, good music and a visit from Santa Claus himself.”
“This holiday party, along with our spring picnic at the Tom’s River Field of Dreams Playground, which is designed specifically for children with special needs, are our two favorite events of the year,” said Pasquale Loporcaro, executive director of ECHO. “Seeing the ECHO children have fun is such a blessing for our board of directors and staff.”
On hand to witness firsthand ECHO’s generosity and all that it’s accomplished, were a number of local leaders, elected officials and friends including Borough President Vito Fossella and District Attorney Michael McMahon.
Fossella, noted: “Mary Pat and I witnessed pure love and joy on the faces of the children, as well as their families, as they danced, played and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon provided by the great folks at ECHO. It’s become a great annual Christmas tradition to allow children just to be children, regardless of their needs or disabilities. ECHO continues to selflessly serve families that need help the most, highlighting the true meaning of Christmas.”
“ECHO is an incredible partner in our work in the district attorney’s office, always there to help our children and their families who are victims of or affected by crime, addiction illness or mental and physical health challenges, added McMahon. “Their generosity is simply remarkable and we are so grateful for Sibby Angelico’s vision and the dedication and commitment of his family, friends, the directors and staff at ECHO and all of their donors. What a beautiful Christmas they blessed all these families with today.”
ECHO was founded in 2008 by Angelico for the purpose of providing financial assistance to children and families experiencing a medical or living emergency with the goal of helping to ease the burden and brighten a child’s life during a time of crisis. To date, ECHO has awarded more than $4.2 million in grants.