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Community Stars of the Week: June 29, 2020

An apparel shop donates 3,750 meals to people in need, while two nurses provide care during COVID-19

by New York Islanders Community Relations NYIslanders / is spotlighting heroes who are helping their community! Nominate a community hero here!

Community Hero: Rachel and Mike Bennett
Couple donated over 3,750 meals through proceeds from hockey apparel sales

A year ago, Rachel and Mike Bennett started a clothing line called Long Island Hockey Co. a hockey apparel company with a Long Island twist. 

The married couple sold their merchandise out of the pro shop at The Rinx and Amity Harbor Sports - that is until COVID-19 shuttered both stores. (Amity Harbor Sports has recently reopened.)

What started as an all-too familiar story of a small business being affected by the coronavirus has instead grown into an inspiring tale of selflessness, positivity and community.  

Instagram from @longislandhockeyco: Thank you so much to everyone who made our Long Island Harvest Fundraiser possible..Together, we generated a donation to provide 3,750 meals to Long Island residents struggling with food insecurity..We could not have done this without our community..Thank you, and stay safe out there. .#newyorktough#togetherwecan#longislandhockey

The quarantine may have closed the physical locations, but Rachel and Mike continued to create new hat and beanie designs for their online store and the orders continued to pour in. That's when the couple reached out to the LI Harvest Food Bank, committing a portion of profits from their hat sales to feed those in need during the pandemic. 

Their fundraiser lasted all of April and the proceeds from 75 hats helped provide 3,750 meals on Long Island through the food bank.

But they didn't stop there. As apparel makers, they also designed custom face coverings, and a portion of the sales were donated to the New York COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. 

Rachel and Mike also launched another fundraiser to help grow hockey on LI through the Peconic Hockey Foundation. Five dollars from every purchase will go to the PHF to help grow the game on Long Island through scholarships, training and other programs. 

Community Hero: Debbie Longo
Debbie Longo is a nurse and Islanders fan from Floral Park

Debbie a long time nurse and Islanders fan from Floral Park. She has been working through the pandemic to help those who need her care both as a nurse and as a friend. 

Debbie has gone above and beyond to support the Long Island community and does so every day with a smile on her face (under her mask, of course)! 

She's been a model for her family who say she is proof that some heroes don't wear capes- but instead wear scrubs and a lot of blue and orange!

Community Hero: Theresa Mercurio
Theresa Mercurio is a nurse at NYU Winthrop

Theresa Mercurio works as a nurse at NYU Winthrop and day after day has given selflessly to help others throughout this pandemic. 

If being a nurse isn't enough, she comes home and spends the rest of her day home schooling her daughters and helping with homework instead of unwinding and recovering for the next day. One task would be enough to wear someone out but to continuously perform both tasks is something special. Her sister said Theresa's selfless acts lead by example and is the type of role model people can look up to and admire!

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