Proceeds will also be donated to Boys Scouts of America
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A project that started at the beginning of the Iraq War to give Brooklyn families the chance to mail letters and packages for free to their loved ones serving in combat is still going strong 11 years later.
The Dyker Heights Military Postage Fund still provides military families with free mailing privileges, according to Fran Vella-Marrone, president of the Dyker Heights Civic Association, the organization that administers the fund. The project operates out of the Dyker Heights Post Office at 8320 13th Ave. Families of military personnel who show ID can go to a special window in the post office and mail their letters and packages at no cost overseas.
“It continues to this day. We still have people fighting for our country and serving all over the world, so we keep the postage fund going,” Vella-Marrone told the Brooklyn Eagle. “It’s something we want to do for the families. It’s our way of doing our part for those families and the military men and women.”
The postage fund, which operates with donations from the community, is getting some big help from the Rhapsody Players, a Bay Ridge-based singing group, which is performing a benefit concert on Friday, May 9 at 7 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 1305 86th St.
The Rhapsody Players, whose sole mission is to perform at benefit concerts to raise funds for charitable endeavors, heard about the postage fund and wanted to help, Vella-Marrone said. “We’ve very grateful that they want to raise money for us,” she said.
The Dyker Heights Military Postage Fund was organized in 2003 by postal employees at the Dyker Heights branch who took it upon themselves to help military families mail packages overseas. The program grew so successful and so many families took the opportunity to mail packages for free, that the postal workers sought an outside group to help administer the growing fund. They approached the Dyker Heights Civic Association, which agreed to assume responsibility for the fund.
The May 9 concert, which is being called the “Dyker Heights Community Fling,” will feature the Rhapsody Players – John Heffernan, Eileen Monahan, Colleen Martin-O’Donnell, Anthony Marino, Bernard Smith, Donna Heffernan and Kiernan Hamilton – performing great popular songs from the past 50 years. The group is known for its smooth harmonies and witty interpretations of songs. In recent months, the group performed in concert to raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims and for a scholarship fund sponsored by Narrows Community Theater.
In addition to raising money to help keep the postage fund going, the “Community Fling” will also raise funds for the Boy Scouts of America. “The Boy Scouts are such a great organization. They do a lot for our community,” Vella-Marrone said. “I’m happy that the concert is going to raise money for them, too.”
Tickets to the Dyker Heights Community Fling are $35 per person. For more information, write to Michael Molina of the Boy Scouts of America at [email protected].