LI Pizza Strong Raises $102K For Farmingdale HS Bus Crash Victims

FARMINGDALE, NY — Long Island pizzerias — 140 of them raised $102,200 for those impacted by the Farmingdale High School marching band bus crash, Long Island Pizza Strong, the initiative behind the fundraiser, announced Tuesday.

The pizzerias donated $5 of every pie sold on Oct. 25 after the Sept. 21 bus crash. Proceeds went to five pools: the students who were critically injured, non-critically injured students, the families of Gina Pellettiere and Bea Ferrari, and the school for marching band equipment, said Jim Serpico, one of the Long Island Pizza Strong organizers.

Pellettiere, 43, of Massapequa, and Ferrari, 77, of Farmingdale, were killed when the bus carrying the marching band to Greeley, Pennsylvania, for an annual band camp crashed and tumbled down a 50-foot ravine in Orange County.

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Pellettiere was a single mother of a 2-year-old boy and the Farmingdale band director. Ferrari was a retired teacher who chaperoned the band camp trip each year.

The event was more successful than Serpico, who owns Side Hustle Bread, thought it would be.

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“It’s one thing when you say we have a goal of raising $100,000, but it’s another when you see it actually come to fruition and how many people contributed, from residents of Long Island to business owners to pizzerias,” Serpico told Patch. “That was what was most successful. Seeing so many more people than I expected coming together to bring that goal to fruition.”

Serpico said he felt happy the initiative could contribute to the tragedy.

“When things like this happen, you always wish you could do something and you feel helpless,” he said. “It made me feel good to be able to contribute just a small part to this event. And most of all, we were able to provide some assistance to those who needed it.”

The check was presented to the Farmingdale School District by members of the initiative and pizzeria owners, as well as Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and Councilman Lou Imbroto.

“This initiative was a great success, proving that Long Islanders’ love for pizza is the only thing that could match our love and support for the Daler community,” Saladino said in a news release.

Long Island Pizza Strong was organized by Alyssa Guidice from Dine-LI; Cary Rosner; Anthony Laurino from Phil’s Pizza in Syosset and Massapequa; and Serpico.

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Laurino’s son is a member of the Farmingdale High School Marching Band. He teamed up with Guidice and Serpico to launch Long Island Pizza Strong Day.

“We thank Anthony and the organizers of Long Island Pizza Strong for bringing our community together during such a difficult time, and we thank all the local pizzerias throughout the Town of Oyster Bay and all of Long Island for participating in this important cause,” Imbroto said.

Susan Perna, Theresa Guidice and Donna Burke volunteered for the effort.

Perna said it was great to see 140 pizzerias join forces.

“Thank you to all the pizzerias that participated,” she said. “The money will go a long way to help those affected by the fatal bus crash.”

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