NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Lifelong New Rochelle Resident Esther Vacca created “Straight Outta The Hot Zone” t-shirts to sell as a fundraiser that netted about $15,000. Looking to support both local businesses and hospital workers on and around the frontlines, Vacca used the funds raised to purchase over 430 gift cards from over 35 local businesses which she presented to Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital staff as a thank you for all they have done to help flatten the curve and as the city begins to re-open.
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, Development Commissioner Luiz Aragon and others joined hospital workers and Anthony Alfano, Vice President and Executive Director of Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital outside the Montefiore New Rochelle Emergency Department.
“In these bags we have over 400 gift cards that we were able to buy from local businesses for all of you,” said Vacca in an emotional speech. “Thank you from the bottom of New Rochelle’s heart for doing what you do ,fo being who you are and for being New Rochelle.”
After the City of New Rochelle was thrust into the national spotlight at the beginning of the public health crisis, Esther Vacca set about immediately to raise funds to support local businesses. Having successfully raised $15,000 she decided to channel the money back into the community two-fold: supporting local business by purchasing gift cards and then donating the gift cards to frontline medical responders at Montefiore New Rochelle.
“When this first started before we even had a clear understanding of what we were doing Esther was out there in parking lots selling these shirts with that incredible energy that she brings,” said New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson. “Not only raising dollars that can now be used for a good cause but building up everyone’s spirit which in some ways is just as important as the monetary resources.”