Many young people would not give up the birthday presents and money they’d receive on their special day. But for Adriana Esposito of Lake Grove, it was a sacrifice she’d be willing to make.
On April 14, Adriana and her family stopped by Long Island Coalition for the Homeless (LICH), which is based in Amityville, to drop off 100 backpacks filled with essential items like snacks, water bottles and toiletries. The donation was made a day before her 13th birthday on April 15.
The objective of the LICH is to provide permanent housing. The Street Outreach Team at LICH is dedicated to supporting people living on the street and helping them transition to permanent housing. They cover all of Nassau and Suffolk, and work directly with people living in parks, wooded areas, vehicles, train stations, abandoned homes and buildings and other areas not meant for human habitation.
Adriana was inspired to collect backpacks for the unsheltered because she wanted to help them carry their belongings. And Adriana, knowing about the work LICH does, believed they would be able to make good use of these backpacks. On April 12, she held an event at the Ronkonkoma Fire District building to collect all the supplies. Everyone who came to the event was also able to also enjoy some snacks in celebration of Adriana’s birthday.
“Every spring for lent instead of giving up candy or donuts, I take some time to help the community and this year for
my birthday, since the amount of people who are unsheltered on Long Island keeps growing, I wanted to help them,” Adriana said.
In the past, Adriana has held food drives, a cupcake fundraiser for muscular dystrophy, a bracelet fundraiser for the Amniotic Fluid Embolism Foundation in honor of her team mom who almost died from one. In the winter she helps out with the Sachem North Toy Drive with her younger sister Charlotte. This is just some of the work Adriana, now joined by her sister, has done for the community through their initiative, Aces Arrows. This is not Adriana’s first time working with LICH. When she was even younger, she worked with her football and cheerleading program to collect coats and clothes during a pep rally.
“Honestly, I just love the community so much that it feels good to give back,” Adriana said. “It makes me happy to see other people happy and I want to teach other people how to help out, especially kids.”
Adriana’s mother, Joanna Esposito, said wanting to help people has been a part of Adriana since she was little. “It doesn’t surprise me that she would want to use her 13th birthday to give back to the
community… The first thing on her Christmas list every year is an end to homelessness.”
Greta Guarton, the Executive Director of LICH, had the following to say about Adriana’s donation: “We are so grateful to this generous young lady for selflessly thinking of kids in need! The 100 backpacks she donated to Long Island Coalition for the Homeless will go directly to homeless and at risk children in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, so they can start their next school year with pride, knowing they have the tools and equipment to succeed.”
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