The Town of Hempstead presented Franklin Square’s Joseph Allocco and Elmont’s Janice Blake its 2018 Make A Difference Award on Dec. 13. The Make A Difference Award honors community leaders who give back to the Town of Hempstead and stand as pillars of their neighborhoods.
“These people were singled out by their peers for all the amazing and inspiring work they do improving their community,” Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen said.
Allocco was selected for the 23rd rendition of his “Franklin Square Horror” haunted house this past Halloween. Allocco, a self-proclaimed horror master, entertains more than 2,000 people each year at his home on Norway Street. Although Allocco does not charge for admission into the haunted house, he does set up a collection bin for donations to local autism and cerebral palsy organizations. He does this in order to give back to the local organizations that helped his own son, and Allocco said the charity aspect of the haunted house is one of the reasons he gets so many visitors.
“This all really blew up when I started collecting donations,” he said. “Everyone just likes to give back.”
Allocco begins setting up for his haunted houses in the summer as he transforms the left side of his yard into an interactive haunted house. Although the tour is short, Allocco sets up scares around every corner. His infectious Halloween-spirit has even spread throughout the neighborhood, with his neighbors joining in as actors at the haunted houses. As they entertain guests inside the house, Allocco dawns his signature Leather Face outfit from the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” to entertain those waiting in line as the event gets bigger and bigger each year.
The Town of Hempstead also honored community activist Janice Blake for her work at St. Vincent DePaul and Belmont Park. At St. Vincent’s, Blake had successfully raised $8,000 this year during the “Walk for the Poor” fundraiser for her struggling neighbors. And further down on Hempstead Turnpike, Blake volunteers at Belmont’s Racetrack Chaplaincy, where she distributes food twice a week to the backstretch workers. She also tutors the worker’s children at the Anna House and assists the Elmont Boy Scouts as their Scouts Horsemanship Badge Counselor.
Town officials added that Blake was also proactive in trapping feral cats in Elmont, capturing more than 30 cats to neuter and put up for adoption at the town’s shelter.
“I’d like to thank these difference-makers in the community for all the amazing and inspiring work they do each and every day,” Hempstead Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana said.