NEWARK, NJ – Newark’s La Casa de Don Pedro nonprofit will honor key contributors to the COVID-19 pandemic during its annual fundraiser on June 17.

The theme of the interactive virtual event, “Silver Linings,” will feature guest speakers and video segments highlighting the work of the Newark nonprofit and paying tribute to those at the forefront of the pandemic such as hospital and medical facility staff and other key personnel from banks, Restaurants and nonprofits.

“We wanted to create an opportunity to recognize and honor key workers in Newark who have worked for the past year, more than 15 months, and who have often been underestimated, to help the city move forward in the face of this pandemic.” La Casa de Don Pedro, director for Program and Fund Development, Carrie Puglisi, told TAPinto Newark.

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Key employees to be honored include team members from the Valley Bank Newark branches and the restaurant staff from Newark Working Kitchens, a program that works collectively with the city’s restaurants to provide free meals to food-insecure residents.

La Casa de Don Pedro will also honor employees of Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health Clara Maass Medical Center, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, and New Jersey Children’s Hospital.

Those honored include La Casa de Don Pedro’s key contributors, with particular attention to La Casa’s personal childcare program and community engagement efforts that have helped keep the city connected with vital services and support .

“These are people you can’t see,” said Puglisi. “These are people who are often behind the scenes. You could be someone like a security guard in a medical center. They took risks, just like medical personnel. Restaurant workers have taken risks knowing the importance of their job in feeding people. There are people who provide childcare services to support parents who have worked to keep their children safe when they couldn’t go to school. ”

In the past, La Casa fundraisers have helped raise funds to support their programs and services. Amid the pandemic, Puglisi stated that the fundraiser is intended to support La Casa’s efforts to combat the effects of COVID-19 in local communities. These efforts include the use of COVID vaccinations and the provision of meals to families, she said.

In addition to honoring key workers, the free virtual event starts at 5:30 pm and offers attendees the opportunity to purchase bottles of Spanish wine with Spanish cheese (free delivery for residents of the county if purchased by June 6th)

The wine is curated by the renowned sommelier Hank Zona, who discusses the wine selection for the evening from Casa d’Paco’s own label. The Spanish restaurant, located on the Ironbound section of Newark, is owned by Angel Leston, who will also speak during the virtual event.

“I am delighted to add La Casa de Don Pedro to the list of many organizations that I support and that do such important work in our communities,” said Zona. “That they themselves chose this event to honor community members – Newark’s unsung heroes during the pandemic – speaks volumes about their role in the urban landscape.”

Speakers for the event include Marcy DePina, a Newark artist, DJ, executive director and producer, and poet and artist Shell Spin, who will recite an exclusive poem about life during the pandemic.

Tickets for the virtual fundraiser are available here: