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Good News: Orphans Get Good Homes; Food, Toy Drives Score Big

Some stories put a smile on your face. Here's our wrap-up from around Long Island.

Elaina and her mother Jane. Photo Credit: Jane Waldman.
Elaina and her mother Jane. Photo Credit: Jane Waldman.
As a local news organization, Patch covers stories of all kinds, from heartbreaking tragedies to nitty-gritty breakdowns of government and school district issues. But some stories are simply inspiring, often showing that at the heart of our communities is a desire to do good. Here are some of the touching headlines from the past seven days.

Orphan Finds a Happy Home

Elaina Braverman, 12, was born premature less than four pounds and spent the first six months of her life in the hospital before being sent to a Russian orphanage. Almost 10 years later, she's a popular seventh grader in Levittown.

In 2003, Jane Waldman and her husband Mark decided to adopt a child from Russia after hearing of friends going through positive experiences.

"The biggest reason that people go overseas is that it’s permanent," she said. "Once you’re given permission by the Russian court, it’s final."

It took nine months to adopt Elaina, who was 3 years old and was at an orphanage in Arkhangelsk, Russia.

"We fell in love with her instantly," Waldman said. "It was just an instant connection."

Lindenhurst Named Applebee's Most Thankful Neighborhood

Lindenhurst has come together once again to bring a major entertainment star, earning a Gavin DeGraw concert after being named Applebee's "Most Thankful Neighborhood."

Applebee's Restaurants held a program called the Thank You Movement up until Veterans Day to help residents give thanks to armed forces stationed at home and around the globe.

Toy Drive Helps Mom Remember Son

In the years since her son's death, AnneMarie McKinnon, of Hampton Bays, has not wavered in her mission to keep her son's memory alive by donating toys to kids in need.

McKinnon is once again holding a toy drive, aiming to collected hundreds of toys to hand out to kids who are either in need or seriously ill.

McKinnon made it her goal to hold an annual toy drive after her son told her that he had a wish to fill an 18-wheeler with toys and deliver it to kids who are ill or in need before he died from an illness in 2011.

13 Foster Children Adopted Monday

Thirteen children were officially adopted Monday in a ceremony at Long Island Children's Museum in E. Garden City.

The ceremony, with the help of the Department of Social Services and Nassau County Family Court, celebrated the finalization of adoptions and freedom from the foster care system for Nassau children.

Commemorating National Adoption Month, the ceremony brings attention to children on child welfare and in foster care waiting to be adopted by loving parents.

Open Cupboard Desperate For Pantry Donations

Open Cupboard Food Pantry at Infant Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Port Jefferson is reaching out for donations that could help residents who are in need this holiday Season. The church needs non-perishable food, clothing or other household items.

500 Pounds Of Food Donated To Island Harvest

Recently, students from The Terryville Road Elementary school collected and donated 575 pounds of food to Island Harvest, the largest food bank on Long Island.

April Victor, principal of the elementary school, said the students were "very proud of themselves" and were happy to help those in need. "My school has been doing some great things," she said.

Science Team Wins Regional Siemens Competition

For the second year in a row, a team of Hewlett High School researchers won the regional Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology and will travel to Washington to compete on the national stage.

Raking Patchogue Leaves For Typhoon Relief

The American Red Cross Club at St. Joseph's College's Long Island campus in Patchogue cleared leaves from homes in Patchogue and Medford over the weekend to support typhoon relief for the Philippines.

Pizza Chain Raises $2,400 for Breast Cancer Awareness

Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza in Commack donated $2,400 to Play for P.I.N.K. in support of breast cancer awareness month in October.

The restaurant donated 10 percent of its sales every Tuesday last month to benefit the national nonprofit, whose acronym stands for prevention, immediate diagnosis, new technology and knowledge.

School Raises Cash For Cancer Organization

Mepham High School’s annual Battle of the Classes raised more than $3,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

The event was organized by seniors in the school's Participation in Government class.

Northport VA to Give 500 Turkeys to Veterans

The Northport Veterans Affairs will hold a special Thanksgiving event for veterans, where 500 turkeys will be given out for the holiday.

Veterans are invited to the Northport VA Nov. 23, in which they can receive a free Thanksgiving turkey from 9 a.m. until noon. The event will take place at building 200.

Troop Collects Wagons of Food for the Needy

On Nov. 16, the West Islip Cub Scouts from Pack 279 held a food drive at Best Yet in West Islip and filled up three full shopping carts of food for the needy.

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