SOMERS, N.Y. - Mamma Rosa Ristorante hosted the fourth annual Friends of Karen fundraising dinner on Monday, Oct. 17, to promote the charity, which provides support to families of children battling life-threatening illnesses. With the restaurant filled to its 110-person capacity, it was the restaurant’s best-attended event yet.

Mamma Rosa herself, Filomina Rosa Multari, said she and restaurant co-owner and husband, Fortunato Multari, are happy to support the organization, beacause they benefitted from it years ago when their son, Joseph, battled an illness for three years.

Fortunately, their son survived; however, they remember the ordeal and are eager to support an organization that can assist families going through similar struggles.

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“This is our way of giving back,” Rosa Multari said.

The Friends of Karen organization supports 700 families a year from all over the tri-state area, said Executive Director Judith Factor. On behalf of everyone involved with the organization, she thanked Mamma Rosa for its support.

Admission was $100 a person and several area businesses donated items to be raffled, which led to the event’s raising about $16,000, said Gwen Salmo, special events coordinator.

“We generally make around $10,000 to $12,000 at this event,” Salmo said. “This year, raising almost $16,000 is a big thing for us. We wanted to make at least $12,650 so we definitely exceeded our goal.”

Salmo said Filomina Rosa Multari volunteered much of her time to assist Salmo in organizing the event and that it was largely successful because of her help.