This week, staff writer Laura Rysz talks with Mary Ann Coviello about Keystone Chapter UNICO’s inaugural garage sale, which will raise money for local charities.
Family: Husband, Frank
Professional background: Retired from Fidelity Deposit and Discount Bank
Title: President of Keystone
Q: What inspired this event?
A: Due to the pandemic, our organization was not able to conduct many fundraisers in the past year and a half, so we came up with the idea of having a garage sale in our garage since most of our members will contribute newer and slightly used items.
Q: What is Keystone UNICO’s mission and its history?
A: It was chartered in 2012; currently we have 156 members, ranking us the second-largest chapter in the country. Our mission is to donate to charities throughout Northeast Pennsylvania and to fund our scholarships and Brian Piccolo Awards that we award each year. UNICO stands for United, Neighborly, Integrity, Charitable and Opportunity.
Q: What is the Brian Piccolo Award?
A: Brian Piccolo was an NFL player for the Chicago Bears who died at 26 from cancer. The award is named after him, and a very popular movie was made out of his life. We give two students this award every year who are of Italian descent (and have) community involvement and athletic and academic achievements. Students (who are) eligible are from the surrounding schools in NEPA.
Q: What will be on hand at the fundraiser?
A: We will have many newer and slightly used items for purchase. We did not set a goal for this as it is our first garage sale.
Q: What is unique about this event?
A: We feel we will have a lot of great items for purchase, and we hope to make as much money as possible to help with our mission. A few charities that have been helped in the past include Friends of the Poor, Lackawanna Blind Association, NEPA Youth Shelter, Northeast Intervention Center, St. Francis Commons, Valhalla Veterans, Bread Basket of NEPA and the United Way.
Laura Rysz is the features copy editor and calendar editor at The Times-Tribune and runs the Talk of the Times column, which focuses on local fundraisers and other events. She also writes Chef’s Table that profiles restaurants around the region. Additionally, Laura curates events online on AccessNEPA.com. Laura is involved in the special Mother’s Day edition and curates occasional features Marry Memories and Times Travelers. She is a graduate of Haddonfield Memorial High School, New Jersey, and earned an English professional writing degree with a minor in mass communications from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre. She also earned a certificate in Social Media Marketing from Rutgers Business School. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5228.