The staff of Cona Elder Law, an elder law and estate planning firm based in Melville, recently took time off from their hectic work schedule and volunteered to prepare and serve meals for 300 guests at The Interfaith Nutrition Network (The INN) soup kitchen in Hempstead.
“The partners and associates of Cona Elder Law were positive, enthusiastic and passionate about serving our guests with dignity and respect,” says Dana Lopez, Communications and PR Manager, The INN. “They did a wonderful job upholding the philosophy and goals we have here at The INN.
Everyone worked hard in the soup kitchen preparing and serving the meal, which included chopping veggies, slicing bread and serving coffee. In addition, they stocked the shelves in our guest choice pantry and sorted clothing donations to put in our clothing room so our guests would have as many choices as possible of these very basic necessities. There are a lot of moving parts that make the soup kitchen operate efficiently and Cona Elder Law jumped right into the mix helping wherever they could.”
“We had a wonderful experience volunteering at The INN,” says Jennifer Cona, Esq., managing partner of Cona Elder Law. “The soup kitchen was very well organized and run and we felt well utilized. In addition, the guests were polite and appreciative. As a group, we love doing good deeds in our community and it is even better when we feel like we are making a difference and are being useful.”
Based on her experience volunteering at The INN, Alison Dragunat, paralegal, is ready to do more charitable work. “Everyone should do it,” she said. “It’s like chicken soup for the soul.”
Alison also felt it was humbling to realize her own good fortune when there are others with great needs for the basic necessities.
Janet Russell, staff assistant, explained that even though she was on her feet for nearly six hours it was a good tired feeling, and she would do it again in a heartbeat. “The INN is like a well-oiled machine, a large, organized operation.”
Both Alison and Janet commented that seeing the people they work with every day in a different environment strengthens their ability to work with them. They appreciate that the firm offers these opportunities.
The INN was founded in 1983 as a single soup kitchen run by a small group of volunteers. The volunteers discovered that there were large numbers of hungry and homeless people on Long Island. They formed an interfaith network of soup kitchens, opening kitchens in Hempstead, Long Beach, Freeport and Central Islip. Today, there are a total of 19 soup kitchens operating as part of The INN’s network across Long Island. 400 people are served each day and more than 7,500 people are fed each week. They also offer supportive services including emergency and long-term housing.
Cona Elder Law is recognized as a leading elder law and estate planning firm on Long Island. The firm was ranked the #1 Elder Law firm by Long Island Business News in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The firm provides creative advocacy and cutting edge planning strategies and has been featured in many publications including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, L.I. Business News, Kiplinger’s, Reader's Digest and many others. Cona Elder Law attorneys are frequent contributors to Newsday’s Act II “Ask the Expert” column and have appeared as guests on WNBC-TV, CNN-fn, News 12, News 55, Channel 21 "Act II With Newsday" and many radio stations including WOR, WCBS AM and WFAN.
For more information on Cona Elder Law and elder law/estate planning, visit their website at: www.conaelderlaw.com.