Gina and Vincent Centauro have worked as licensed contractors on Long Island for a decade. While running their contracting business, Truly Unique Designs, the Franklin Square couple began to notice the hardships of the families whose homes they were renovating. Vincent said some clients couldn’t pay for additional improvements that were desperately needed, while others had disabilities and struggled to move around their homes.
“We were going into their homes and seeing their struggles, and we decided to help them by doing those extra renovations ourselves,” Vincent said.
In 2016, the couple transformed their charity work into a nonprofit organization, Rescuing Families Inc., which raises funds to fix up the homes of people in need, including veterans and the disabled. Together with more than a dozen volunteers, the Centauros travel across Long Island, Queens and New Jersey to fix up homes for some of the hundreds who write letters to them every year asking for help.
The work is personal for the couple. Both have family members who have lived with disabilities. Gina’s father is a disabled Korean War veteran, and her sister is autistic and deaf, and Vincent’s father served in Vietnam and struggles with ataxia, a neurological disorder similar to multiple sclerosis.
Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gina heard about the needs at CP Nassau through her friend, Emilia Solinto. Gina spoke with Karen Geller-Hittleman, Assistant Executive Director at the Agency and offered donations of PPEs. Rescuing Families then followed up with more offers including supplies of recreational items such as craft supplies and puzzles that Fran Selvaggio from the Development department picked up and got distributed to our adult program participants in our residential homes and to some of school students.
Gina and Vincent have brought much needed help in the form of serious items like gowns and masks and have brought joy and fun through the puzzles and other things being enjoyed by our residents across Nassau County.
CP Nassau is extremely grateful to Rescuing Families!