Contributing to community cornerstones

Port Richmond Business Alliance makes donation to Catholic schools in Port Richmond

Funding a Catholic education: Jim Skowronski, Jon Frey and Sandra Tomaszewski present Sister Mary Ripp with a $1,500 donation at Our Lady of Port Richmond.

By Melissa Komar

Dyngus Day was more than pierogies and Polish beer in Port Richmond this year.

An event held by the Port Richmond Business Alliance honoring the holiday raised money for Catholic schools in the neighborhood.

Last Tuesday, PRBA members presented checks to Mother of Divine Grace Catholic School, Our Lady of Port Richmond Regional Catholic School and Saint George Catholic School.

Each school received a $600 donation thanks to proceeds from Dyngus Day on April 17.

PRBA presented OLPR with an additional $1,500, which included profits made at the group’s Taste of Port Richmond in October.

The donation was an unexpected, but welcome gesture for Jane Lockhart, principal at MDG.

“Each Tuesday, I say to the students, ‘If you say three Hail Marys before noon, you might receive a Tuesday surprise.’ Well, I received my Tuesday surprise when Sandra (Tomaszewski) came to MDG with a check for $600. What a surprise,” she said.

The donation is a validation the people in Port Richmond appreciate all the work the schools are doing, according to Lockhart.

Sandra Tomaszewski presents a $600 donation to Jane Lockhart, principal at Mother of Divine Grace. PHOTO: SANDRA TOMASZEWSKI

Tomaszewski, the PRBA president, and founding members Jim Skowronski and Jon Frey presented the checks to the schools.

“Giving back to the schools means unifying the community here in Port Richmond,” Frey said at the OLPR presentation.

Skowronski agreed.

“We all have strong roots in the neighborhood, and we know these schools are the cornerstones of the community,” he said.

For Sister Mary Ripp, principal at OLPR, the donation reinforces that commitment.

“It means that business in Port Richmond is alive and well, and the businesses realize the children are the future and they support them,” she said, “and we are just extremely grateful.”

At OLPR, the funds will be used to outfit a new fourth-grade classroom with technology, according to Ripp.

“We’re adding an additional fourth grade in September because enrollment continues to grow,” she said. “Each student has an iPad tablet, so the donation will help pay for that.”

The funds will be used to assist teachers provide materials for their classrooms at MDG, Lockhart said.

Saint George will use the donation to refurbish the lunchroom, including painting and decorating it and adding supplies, said Dan Markowski, principal at Saint George.

Sandra Tomaszewski, PRBA president, presents a $600 donation to Dan Markowski, principal at Saint George. PHOTO: SANDRA TOMASZEWSKI

Regardless of how the schools use the funds, the PRBA has one goal in making the donations.

“Ultimately, we want the Catholic schools to know we support them,” Tomaszewski said.

Businesses interested in becoming a member of the Port Richmond Business Alliance should visit prballiance.org for an application.