How the Salaam Club is helping to support Brooklyn during coronavirus pandemic
Celebrating a proud heritage, the Salaam Club of New York, one of Brooklyn’s oldest civic groups, has been performing good works in Brooklyn and beyond for 75 years. Always quick to respond to the needs of the community, the Salaam Club recently helped initiate a GoFundMe campaign to raise much-needed funds during the coronavirus pandemic.
Spearheaded by club members John Abi Habib, Honorary Consul of Lebanon, in New Jersey and President of MSI & mCloudServ; and Dr. Pierre Hindy, founder of Gastroenterology Associates of Brooklyn, the club’s COVID Campaign was specifically formed to offer relief to our front-line heroes, including doctors, nurses, technicians, administrators, police officer and firefighters.
The campaign has helped raise over $60,000 for the cause thanks to private donations and the Salaam Club Foundation’s initial $25,000 contribution.
The COVID Campaign Committee includes Salaam Club President Hani Barghash, Gregory Lutfey, Dr. George Shahin, Abi Habib and Hindy.
“This is a time for all of us to join together and assist our community so that we can get through this coronavirus crisis and return to normal in the foreseeable future,” said Hindy. “One hundred percent of the donations will be used to support the club’s initiative in assisting in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hindy added.
In addition to the COVID campaign, the Salaam Club has actively organized events to help the community throughout the crisis. They recently contracted with TOUM, a food truck that serves a variety of Lebanese food including chicken shawarma, falafel, rice and fries. The truck has visited several locations to serve free lunches to frontline workers.
“We have a 7-foot banner next to the truck and a paper on each lunch bag indicating that the food is compliments of the Salaam Club and prepared for the fontline workers for their unrelenting dedication and efforts in helping our community during this crisis,” explained Lutfey.
“We’ve delivered over 2,000 meals so far. We were also given a shout-out from Rosanna Scotto on ‘Good Day New York’ on Fox 5 last Thursday,” added Lutfey.
The TOUM truck has visited locations throughout Brooklyn and Staten Island including the Bay Ridge Center, the St. Nicholas Home, the Guild for Exceptional Children, the 68th Precinct, Maimonides Medical Center, Staten Island Hospital and the Brooklyn Veterans Hospital.
The club has also distributed hundreds of face masks to individuals at Jamaica Hospital, the Guild for Exceptional Children and Family Health Centers at NYU Langone. According to Lutfey, Investors Bank has also contributed 200 N95 masks, as well as donating to the club’s GoFundMe campaign.
The Salaam Club was founded in 1945 by Lebanese and Syrian immigrants in Bay Ridge and was formed as a cultural fraternity of businessmen of Middle Eastern descent. It originally served as a means to allow these civic leaders to help serve their community.
Since its inception, the club has raised and distributed more than $1,000,000 to various charitable organizations.
In 1994, the Salaam Club Community Fund was established to benefit local organizations such as the Guild for Exceptional Children in Bay Ridge and the St. Nicholas Home on Ovington Ave.
The Salaam Club Foundation, which was formed in 2008, conducts turkey drives, donates funds to the Salvation Army, helps children in need and has generously supported St. Jude Children’s Hospital through the years.
“I, personally, have been honored to be part of this great organization, as past president and current secretary of the Salaam Club Foundation,” said Abi Habib.
“We are dedicated to helping others, including 13 charitable organizations. The Salaam Club is also proud to offer aid and assistance to our community throughout this horrible pandemic,” Abi Habib added.
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