While New York City has been described as a “concrete jungle,” there is no substitute for adventures in the real outdoors, which is why the Camp Brooklyn Fund exists. An organization that was started as an initiative by Borough Hall in 2002, it now stands alone and operates independently to collect the money needed to send low-income children to summer camp.
The fund gathers money primarily through donations and recently hosted its annual Lunar New Year celebration fundraiser at New Spring Garden Restaurant, earning enough money to send almost 70 kids to camp this summer.
“We did really well,” explained Camp Brooklyn Fund’s Executive Director, Debra Garcia. “We do it every year. This year we celebrated the Year of the Snake and the proceeds from the tickets went to the fund. There was a Chinese banquet, goody bags and entertainment.”
Although the CBF is no longer affiliated with Borough Hall, Brooklyn President Marty Markowitz still hosts this event each year. The cause is personal for him, and he began the initiative himself over a decade ago.
At the banquet, four outstanding members of the community were honored for their contributions: Yvonne Riley-Tepie, vice president, US Field Marketing, TD Bank; Michael ‘Buzzy’ O’Keeffe, owner of The River Cafe; Deon Levingston, vice president and general manager of WBLS and WLIB-FB; and Kenneth Daly, president of National Grid New York.
Along with raising money to send kids on unforgettable adventures at camp, the fundraiser gives back to the community who supports the CBF with an exciting night of good food and quality entertainment.
“What’s really great about it is that it also celebrates Brooklyn’s Chinatown, which not a lot of people know about,” stated Garcia.
The organization gives back to the community on many levels, but its primary concern is still sending underprivileged kids to camp, where they can learn loyalty, respect, healthy habits and more. Each $750 sends one child to camp for two weeks, while a donation of even $50 provides a child with a backpack full of camping supplies and essentials.
For more information and to donate, visit campbrooklyn.org.