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Angels Of Nassau County

Call it a busman’s holiday. For the employees at Foundation Source in Lake Success, philanthropy is central to their organizational mission: providing comprehensive support to private charities. Yet this holiday season, they embarked on a new effort.

“I wanted to do something closer [to home],” said Jennifer Johnston, an administrative assistant at Foundation Source who lives in Massapequa Park. “We have so many people here; we could do more.”

The staff, which includes Judith Hirschkorn, Rochelle Brizan, Angela Mahoye, Jennifer Bruckman and Estee Shor of Great Neck; Brian Rosen and Emily Sroga of Levittown; and Dionne Brown, Sadjola Qeraj and Nia Jackson of Garden City, banded together to practice charity in a more tangible way: serving as holiday “angels” to Long Island families in need.

Working through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, employees “adopted” individual children or, in some cases, a whole family, purchasing gifts and supplies requested through anonymous cards. Most of the families had very small children, said Johnston, who spearheaded the effort, and were requesting books and educational toys.

“People were pretty excited,” Johnston said. “We’ve been shopping all week. There are tons and tons of toys here.”

Johnston was inspired by a longstanding ‘adopt-a-family’ holiday tradition at the Connecticut headquarters of Foundation Source, which supports more than 1,100 family, corporate, and professionally staffed philanthropic foundations with administration, online foundation management tools, and philanthropic advisory services across the country. (The Lake Success office specializes in tax and legal issues.) Johnston’s coworkers enthusiastically embraced the effort.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Sroga, a lifelong Levittowner. “Even though you don’t get to see the child’s face when they open it on Christmas Day, you know you are doing something great for the holidays.”

Sroga, whose prior holiday giving had been mostly donating canned food for the local churches, jointly adopted a 2-year-old girl with a coworker, and they had a blast picking out coloring books, Barbie dolls and adorable winter wear.

“I got her the cutest clothes!” Sroga said. “If they had them in my size I would wear them.”

Given the success of the effort, it won’t be the last for these good Samaritans.

“We’ll definitely be doing this more often,” said Sroga. “After all, it’s the basis of all we do.”