Bensonhurst

Maria the Ice Cream Girl raises over $2,500 for Puerto Rico

October 6, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Marty Golden proves he’s no slouch when it comes to eating pizza. The lawmaker helped Maria Campanella (fourth from left) organize the “We Love Puerto Rico” hurricane relief fundraiser at L&B Spumoni Gardens on Oct. 4. Photo courtesy of Maria Campanella
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Maria the Ice Cream Girl is feeling particularly sweet these days. A successful series of fundraisers she organized in Bensonhurst this month to help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico brought in a tidy sum of money.

“Yes, I’m so happy. Between the three events we raised over $2,500,” Campanella told the Brooklyn Eagle in an email.

Campanella, an ice cream truck driver known throughout her native Bensonhurst as Maria the Ice Cream Girl, said one of the fundraisers, a “We Love Puerto Rico” party at L&B Spumoni Gardens on Oct. 4, netted more than $1,000 in a single night.

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The L&B Spumoni Gardens event, which was co-sponsored by state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn), attracted a large crowd to the popular Italian restaurant at 2725 86th St., according to Campanella.

Campanella said she was grateful to see so many local residents willing to donate money to help the people of Puerto Rico get back on their feet in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

In addition to the party at L&B Spumoni Gardens, Campanela hosted two other fundraisers.

She plans to donate the money from all three fundraisers to the American Red Cross.

Campanella, a former Community Board 11 member, has sponsored numerous events over the years to raise money for charity. For several years, she organized a Christmas toy drive with local store owners to help low income families during the holiday season.

The Oct. 4 fundraiser featured a pizza-eating contest and another challenge in which participants ate other L&B Spumoni Gardens as fast as they could.

Even Golden joined in on the fun, munching on a slice of the restaurant’s world-famous pizza.

Campanella advertised the event as a chance for guests to “enjoy the togetherness of giving in humanity and being part of a beautiful and sharing community.”

Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that packed 140-mile-per-hour winds, came barreling into Puerto Rico on Sept. 20. The monster storm destroyed hundreds of buildings, tore up roadways and left the island’s 3.4 million residents without electricity.


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