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Somers Middle School Students Helping Those in Need

two girl by van loaded with boxesWhether it’s assisting local veterans with necessities or helping to prepare supplies to send to Ukraine, Somers Middle School students Kaitlyn Zigabarra and Bella Collins are doing what they can to help. 

They have been volunteering with My Brother Vinny, a local non-profit 501(c) (3) organization that organizes and distributes furniture and household items to veterans, outreach groups, shelters and families in need in Westchester County and neighboring vicinities.

The girls recently volunteered to shop for and pack up sets of pots and pans, lamps and other household items for local veterans. They also packed up blankets to be shipped to Ukraine to help refugees displaced by the current conflict there.

two adults and a middle school girl “It makes me feel so honored to help people,” said Zigabarra, an eighth grader who began volunteering in February through a family connection to Paula Miritello, founder of My Brother Vinny. “I absolutely love it so much.” While she became involved in the organization as a way to earn hours for the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), Zigabarra realized that helping veterans through My Brother Vinny felt particularly special because her grandfather Joseph Pettit is a veteran of World War II.

Zigabarra was so inspired by the experience that she invited her friend Collins to come aboard. “I think it is a really good thing to do,” said Collins, a sixth grader who is joining NJHS. “I know I am helping people.”

With the current situation in Ukraine at the forefront of everyone’s minds, the girls said they were especially glad to help Ukrainian families. “The best part was when we loaded the blankets onto a truck, we knew how much they would help,” Collins said. “There are kids our age over there who had to leave everything. I feel good about helping them. I think about if I was in a similar situation that I would appreciate others helping me.”

two girlsBoth girls plan to continue volunteering with My Brother Vinny and are looking forward to doing another shopping trip for items for homeless veterans. “I am also looking forward to meeting some of the local veterans when we drop off the items,” Zigabarra said. 

Miritello works with adult and young volunteers in Somers as well as Yorktown who offer their time to help those in need. “To have a younger generation truly love volunteering with us is a gift,” Miritello said. “Their families should be very proud of how kind they all are.”