On the Avenue: Ben-Bay Kiwanis donates $10K to help ailing child

They’re happy to help!

Members of the Kiwanis Club of Bensonhurst & Bay Ridge gathered “on the avenue” Tuesday evening, June 18 to make a special, life-changing presentation to a Bay Ridge family in need. Timoteo Benitez, 12, his father Jose and brother David were the guests of honor at the club’s weekly meeting at Cebu Bar & Bistro, 8801 Third Ave., where they received a check for $10,000 to assist with Timoteo’s ongoing medical treatments for an extremely rare genetic disorder.

Due to abnormalities of chromosome pair 15, Timoteo has suffered with developmental delays, vocal cord palsy, a feeding tube and frequent seizures for years. The illness has left him wheelchair-bound and unable to care for himself.

Ben-Bay Kiwanis Club board member Joseph Mure Jr., Esq. (left) welcomes Bill Santo to the meeting.

“He has suffered so much for so long, but he knows he is surrounded by people who love him,” Jose Benitez said. “This is really amazing. God bless you all, and thank you very much for all the help you’ve given to Timoteo.”

The generous donation was made following the club’s recent #HelpForTimoteo fundraising campaign and a newfound partnership with the Christian J. Santo Legacy Foundation, named for a Xaverian High School graduate who passed away tragically at age 27 from heart failure.

Foundation President Bill Santo (Christian’s father) was in attendance to help make the presentation after pledging $2,000 to the Benitez family to assist with their increasing medical costs.

Ben-Bay Kiwanis Club board members Albert C. Corhan Sr. (left) and Anthony Pennachio were happy to contribute to the cause.

“As soon as we heard about Timoteo and his situation, it was a done deal,” Santo said. “This is what we do. I’m thankful to Tommy for reaching out to me.”

Santo was referring to Ben-Bay Kiwanis board member Thomas Aellis, who helped organize the #HelpForTimoteo campaign.

Kiwanis board members Scott Palma (left) and Thomas Aellis were instrumental in raising the money to help the Benitez family.

“Billy was so amazing,” Aellis said. “He does so many great things with his organization and we are thrilled to have him be a part of our campaign to help this wonderful family.”

Also at the meeting, club members announced that they would gladly continue to accept donations on behalf of the family. Anyone interested in donating can email [email protected] for details.

Proud Kiwanians Chip Cafiero (left) and Dr. Stephen Riso attended the meeting.

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It’s officially summertime in Brooklyn, which means it’s time to start getting excited about the Summer Stroll on 3rd!

This year’s program will run on alternating stretches of Third Avenue on four consecutive Friday evenings, beginning July 19, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The July 19 and Aug. 2 events will span from 82nd Street all the way to Marine Avenue, with a slight interruption near Foodtown Supermarket, according to organizers.

“We want people to be aware that although there will be plenty of fun to be had heading toward Marine Avenue, there will be cars in the street at certain points,” Merchants of Third Avenue Civic Improvement Association, Inc. President Dan Texeira said. “There will be plenty of details forthcoming and lots of signage at the event itself because we want everyone to be safe above all else.”

On July 26 and Aug. 9, the stroll continues “on the avenue” from 82nd Street to 68th Street. There will be dining and shopping specials galore, plus lots of live music and children’s activities on all four nights.

This year the Strolls are being organized by Co-Coordinators Lisa Larkin and Christina Cafiero. Be sure to follow along on the event’s official social media channels: @SummerStrollon3rd on Facebook and Instagram, and @SummerStroll3rd on X.

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If you’re doing something noteworthy “on the avenue,” reach out to me at [email protected]!

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