The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the best and worst of humanity.
One local Port Orange couple is using the uncertain times to count their blessings, help out those less fortunate and show the good side of humanity.
What started as concern for their elderly neighbors has grown into a mission to help those adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Richard “Rich” and Susan Malfitano of Port Orange would regularly check on their elderly neighbors, who have little mobility, and it wasn’t long before the Malfitanos realized they were not eating properly. They started bringing hot dinners to them and decided to expand on that, bringing them groceries.
As the pandemic hit and the state lock-down occurred, more families have become at risk, so the Malfitanos decided to reach out to their friends and they started collecting non-perishable food to be distributed. Monetary donations were used to buy bread, milk and personal care items.
To date, the Malfitanos have been able to collect items for 10 families in Port Orange, Holly Hill and Daytona Beach. On occasion, even delivering homemade lasagna the families can just heat and eat.
The generosity of their friends and business acquaintances has made their mission a success, one that they hope to continue and grow, they said.
“The effects of this disease will be felt by our economy for a very long time, so it is (our) intent to continue as long as the need exists and the donations continue,” Ms. Malfitano stated in an email.
Mr. Malfitano is past president of Rolling Thunder and serves as education director for the motorcycle group.
“Sue and I are longtime advocates for veterans’ rights and the search, recovery and identification of the over 84,000 Americans still missing since WWII.”
As to the food drive, he said, “We select the families based on their need, some are also recommended to us by others. Some due to job loss, some due to medical status. We were reaching out for those in need through friends as well as social media. Blessings are meant to be shared.”
Sophia Dallas of Daytona Beach is a disabled U.S. Army veteran single-handedly raising four children. She is one of the recipients of the Malfitano’s food drive. She described how it started, with her initially getting some pineapples from someone who knew the Malfitanos and informed her she knew someone who could assist her further.
“Then Mr. Richy came along. It’s a blessing. Him and his wife they do go above and beyond,” Ms. Dallas said. “They give food and toiletries and water. He calls me up when he has things to donate. They find a way to help us with some nice supplies. The program is above notch. I don’t know how he does it. Sometimes he doesn’t feel well and he and his wife still go above and beyond to make sure they help the families and the veterans. I’ve had two donations from them thus far because I just started with them. He (even) brought us some masks. It was really overwhelming because this will help a veteran. Not a lot of times can we get out. We’re trying to stay inside with our kids. It was really nice. I appreciate them to the fullest.”
Ms. Dallas has now decided to pay it forward as well and has volunteered to help with deliveries to other families. “You can’t be a part of the village and trying to help your community if you just have your hands out,” she said. “You have to give your hand out in giving, too, not just to receive.”
To contribute to the Malfitanos Food Drive, send checks or food/supply donations to Richard Malfitano, 717 Prissol Lane, Port Orange 32127. He also can be contacted at (917) 660-7463 or firstname.lastname@example.org.