PATERSON, NJ - Hundreds of area parents and children enjoyed a carnival-like atmosphere at Sunday’s back to school celebration hosted by local developer Charles Florio, his wife, Marie, and the staff at Florio Management.
The future spot of luxury apartments to be built in Paterson’s First Ward, on Fair Street, saw youngsters frolicking in multiple bounce houses, lining up for free cotton candy and gigantic pieces of pepperoni pizza, playing arcade games, and enjoying Ben & Jerry’s ice cream as well as freshly popped popcorn.
Children set to return to school next week also received a free school book bag courtesy of one of Paterson’s most prolific landlords.
“It’s great to see the kids having lots of fun,” Florio said at the event which was marked by perfect summer weather. “This is for them. I want to show my appreciation to all of Paterson that I am able to establish my business here.”
As previously reported, construction will soon begin on the currently vacant lot which Florio plans to transform into a “north of $40 million,” 10-story, luxury apartment building.
However, future construction was not on the minds of the day’s happy participants.
Paterson resident Yiraida Gonzalez brought her 16-year old son Jonathan, and 14-year old daughter Yariannie, to the festival. Both sported their new backpacks.
“This really helps out financially,” Gonzalez said. “We had not purchased book bags for the upcoming school year yet.”
After winning the game Drown the Clown, Yariannie, a freshman at the Passaic County Technical Institute, proudly displayed her stuffed, pillow-like prize which she referred to as an “emoji.”
Jonathan, a junior at Eastside High School, and a member of the varsity football squad stated, “I’m here to watch over my mom and sister.”
The Rev. Charles Boyer, pastor of Paterson’s Bethel AME Church, attended the celebration with his wife and two grandsons. Bethel was one of eight local, non-profit organizations to recently receive a donation from Florio Management. The congregation sponsors a number of community outreach events including a free breakfast every Sunday morning and an annual youth basketball tournament at Wrigley/Montgomery Park.
“Today a lot of kids are having a terrific time,” Boyer stated. “Several years ago, Charles and a crew from his business repainted our church. Also, every Christmas, Charles and several organizations he is connected to in New York have donated turkey, toys for kids, hat, scarves, and more. He has done many, many things for our church in reaching out to the community.”
Known almost as much for his propensity for giving as he is for his construction projects, Florio announced a total of eight donations to local non-profit organizations on Wednesday including:
Bethel AME Church-$5000
The Dominican Parade-$20,000
The Paterson Wild Cats Youth Football Team-$3,000
Save the Village-$6000
Unizamba Football Club-$3000
Paterson Cricket League-$3000
Grandparents Resource Center-$3000
Florio has previously sponsored the Silk City Sharks, the Joe Clark Scholarship Fund, covered the cost of 30 Paterson honor roll students for a trip to a Pennsylvania waterpark, and provided free housing for 12 months for a victim of domestic violence.
“There is no group in need more than our children,” Florio told TAPinto Paterson recently. Adding that he is on a mission to ensure that Paterson’s children have a chance for higher education the developer turned philanthropist added that his job is “the easy part.”
“The real credit belongs to the organizers, teachers, coaches, etc. that dedicate their time and life for these kids.”
Editor's Note: JCM Investors sponsors TAPinto Paterson's sports section.
Know a story we should share with readers? Email editor Steve Lenox and tell him about it.