Diocesan News

St. Saviour HS Student Embraces Family Tradition in Solo Fundraising Project

High school student Angelia Lubrano said dropping off the $680 check at The Healing Center (Bay Ridge) has inspired her to dream bigger for future fundraisers. (Photo: Courtesy of Donna Lubrano)

BAY RIDGE — It’s in Angelia Lubrano’s blood to help others, having grown up performing holiday-themed community service with her family and fundraising in memory of her late aunt, who died from lung cancer.

This Lenten season, Angelia stepped up to the plate in a solo effort. She raised $680 for The Healing Center, the Bay Ridge-based domestic violence organization that is committed to the intervention and prevention of family violence, abuse, and sexual assault.

The St. Saviour High School junior asked family and friends to commit to putting aside loose change or a dollar bill each day of the 40 days of Lent.

“When COVID hit, we were collecting candies, toys, and coloring books to make Easter baskets for the pediatric cancer center at Maimonides (Medical Center),” the teenager explained, “but couldn’t do the drop-off because of the lockdown.”

Angelia said a light bulb went off in her head when she kept reading about the surge in domestic violence and abuse during the pandemic.

After Lent ended on April 1, she dropped off the $680 check, plus 25 new pairs of kids’ pajamas, at The Healing Center.

“When I raised over $280 in the first two weeks, I was thankful to everyone who gave,” Angelia said, explaining that her initial goal was $300. “When it went to $500, I was in total shock. Then I was speechless in the end when it almost reached $700.”

“It felt so good to drop those items off because I just can’t imagine how difficult it must be for families in those situations,” she added.

Antonia Clemente, founder and executive director of The Healing Center, noted that the “escalation in victims of domestic violence was evident” over the last year.

“We saw many women who could not get out of their homes because of COVID-19 and had to stay home with their children,” Clemente said. “We’re very grateful for how this young teenager raised money at her school and through family members, which speaks volumes of volunteerism in our community.”

Angelia’s mother Donna said serving others was something her father instilled in her at a young age. Donna has been cooking Thanksgiving dinners for the less fortunate for the past 20 years and organized collections for Staten Island families in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the New York City area.

“I always got Angelia involved because I felt it was so important for her to see that there were so many others who didn’t have what we had,” she explained. “When you’re feeling down or kind of helpless, I think it just makes you feel better when you can help others.”

Following the success of her first Lenten collection, the teen said she wants to make this her annual tradition.

“Because I was born and raised to do fundraisers all my life, I want to raise my goal a little bit more next year,” she said.

“And when we’re able to be back together in person, I’d like to collaborate with my mother and host more fundraisers.”