The Rockville Centre Police Department threw a summer barbecue for the village’s Hispanic Brotherhood on Aug. 3, during which about 50 senior citizens, children and other community members enjoyed the sunshine.
“It’s lovely, and people get to see what goes on here and they get to see our seniors,” said Marguerite Keller, co-director of the brotherhood. “It’s a nice day for the seniors because they get to be outside barbecuing…and the weather cooperated with us.”
The Hispanic Brotherhood was founded in 1984 with a mission to help the Hispanic residents of Nassau County with the resources, information, and assistance they need to successfully assimilate into American culture. According to the 2010 census, about 200,000 county residents, or 14.6 percent, are Hispanic.
The agency, on Clinton Avenue, provides a nutrition program in which Hispanic seniors are given a hot lunch three days a week, housing counseling, an after-school tutorial program as well as Zumba and yoga classes. About 450 seniors are registered in the brotherhood, Keller said. In addition to Rockville Centre, the brotherhood serves Hispanics in other South Shore communities, including Long Beach, Island Park, Oceanside, Lynbrook, Freeport and Baldwin.
The event, which has become a tradition the last few years, according to Police Commissioner Charles Gennario, was funded by donations collected by his department. Keller said Gennario set it up this year in order to thank the brotherhood for their service to the community.
“If you notice, we don’t have the problems that other municipalities have,” Gennario said. “There are communities that have strife between police and the community, and it’s not only minorities, but we have a good relationship with all the residents in the village and we try to maintain that.”