Malverne resident Linda Baldacchino, known locally for her extensive work helping the elderly and disadvantaged through Our Lady of Lourdes Church’s Youth Group, was presented with the Town of Hempstead’s Pathfinder award in the Humanitarian category on March 7.
Baldacchino, who is a full-time religion teacher at St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, was commended for her accomplishments as Youth Board Coordinator, a post she has held for the past 18 years. During that time, Baldacchino has been mentor to hundreds of Lourdes students, guiding them through their personal lives while creating programs in which they actively helped the poor and elderly.
Among the programs she spearheads within the Youth Group include the Souper Scavenger Hunt, where she finds and recruits teams throughout the community to collect donations for OLL’s food pantry. Each year, the event collects between two and four tons of food for low-income families in the surrounding communities.
Baldacchino also designed “meal trains” for elderly and ill community members, where volunteers cook and deliver meals to people who are unable to do it themselves.
During the holiday season, she coordinates Christmas decorations and gift collections for Glory House, a halfway house for women, and twice a year, Baldacchino coordinates a “Midnight Run” program, where the Youth Group and others within the church venture into Manhattan to deliver food, clothing and personal care items to New York City’s homeless.
Among the dignitaries at the ceremony included mayors from the town’s villages, including Malverne’s. “It was so humbling that Patti McDonald came here for me today,” said Baldacchino, who was flanked by her four children, husband and sister. “I’ve been individually recognized [for my work] but never in a public ceremony,” she said.
Her eldest son, Thomas, caught up in the excitement, said, “I’m really happy for her,” as his two sisters waved bouquets of flowers in celebration.