Port Chamber of Commerce awards Marvin Makofsky for outstanding community service

Port Chamber of Commerce awards Marvin Makofsky for outstanding community service
From left to right: Port Washington Chamber of Commerce President Mitch Schwartz, state Assemblyman Anthony D'Urso (D-Port Washington) and Marvin Makofsky, the man behind Plant A Row for the Hungry Port Washington and recipient of the chamber's community service award. (Photo courtesy of Debbie Greco)

The Port Washington Chamber of Commerce gave its Community Service Award last Thursday to Port’s “chief vegetable executive,” Marvin Makofsky. 

Makofsky is the man behind Plant A Row for the Hungry Port Washington, an organization that encourages property owners to nurture their own gardens and donate the surplus to provide for those in need. 

While Plant A Row is a nationwide initiative, Makofsky gave the program some Port Washington flavor, which can now be seen throughout the Port Washington peninsula in the form of one-of-a-kind vegetable planters. 

Not only are the pots full of color, but each is painted by the people of Port Washington; by the children at Port schools, by the employees at Spectrum Designs Foundation and members of the Port Washington Adult Activities Center to name a few of the organizations. 

Over three dozen members of the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce have purchased planters to place in front of their businesses. 

“Nine years ago, I started placing posters in over 60 store windows all over Port Washington,” he said. “These merchants helped our team of volunteers to promote our Plant A Row Program. Four years later, many of these merchants purchased our Painter Planters, are growing vegetables and displaying these planters proudly.”

Many Port Washington organizations have also created gardens with the help of Makofsky and his team of volunteers. 

But the impact of Plant A Row for the Hungry can be best seen at Bayles Garden Center, where community members drop off their surplus produce.

Since the inception of the program nine years ago, over 25,000 pounds of fresh produce has gone through the garden center to be donated to Our Lady of Fatima Church Outreach and other local food outreach programs. 

Makofsky said that it is the Port Washington community’s receptiveness to the idea that has made Plant A Row successful.

“I feel a great depth of gratitude to be honored by the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce,” he said. “The Chamber members delivered an important message for our Port residents to appreciate providing fresh vegetables to families in need.”

In addition to honoring the recipient of the chamber’s community service award, the annual Port Washington Chamber of Commerce installation dinner is for putting the chamber’s leadership in place. 

North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth gave Mitch Swartz the oath of office for his reinstallation as chamber president. 

State Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso (D-Port Washington) swore in Debbie Greco Cohen of Greco Communications as first vice president, Catherine O’Neill of Sullivan’s Quay as second vice president, Katherine Crean of Apple Home Organization as third vice president, David Heller of Golden Hands Therapies as secretary and Kathy Levinson of Coldwell Banker as treasurer of the chamber. 

North Hempstead Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio swore in the chamber’s 19-member board of directors.

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