As a lifelong Staten Island resident, Frank Camuso has very fond memories of spending the holidays with family and friends, enjoying all that Staten Island has to offer. While the holidays are always a great time for Frank Camuso and his family, nothing beats the comradery of Thanksgiving on the island. As a kid, Thanksgiving break is always something you look forward to. Not having to wake up early in the morning, just to get on that crowded school bus with your fellow classmates, one louder than the next. Only to have been dropped off for a full day of school. Having the time off meant infinite playtime for Frank Camuso and his friends in their youth. They all look back on fond memories of playing stickball and pickup basketball games, with their neighborhood friends. But today Thanksgiving is all about the family. With such busy lives, Frank Camuso and his wife Christine, take as much time as possible to spend with their kids.
For Frank Camuso and others in his age group, Thanksgiving is way different now than it ever was. Rather than taking the ferry into the city and trying to see what type of trouble they can get into, Frank and his friends make sure to get their families together and spend more time reminiscing than anything else. At the Camuso house, everyone is welcome during this time of year. Old friends gather one by one, each with a group of kids in tow. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and distant relatives make their way in and out of the house throughout the days. Some staying for dinner and an after-dinner cocktail, while others just stop by to say hello, before moving onto their in-laws. Regardless of who stops by, the hallmark of Thanksgiving on Staten Island has always been family.
While things might be different these days, with new technology and an app for anything you could think of – Staten Island has always maintained its family roots. Much of Staten Island is made of mostly 2nd and 3rd generation Italians, and the Italian culture is one that places family above all else. For Frank Camuso, one of the most important parts of the Thanksgiving season is giving back to those less fortunate than he and his family. The Camuso family has made sure to take part in Staten Island’s Family-to-Family, program for the past few years. The program is part of an initiative that helps families in need around the holidays. While Staten Island is mostly middle class, there has been a steady rise in poverty rates over the last few years. And much of those people living below the poverty line are families. So Frank Camuso, his wife Christine, and a number of their close friends donate much of their time and resources around the holidays to helping those in need. They have arranged food and clothing drives, helping those who simply can’t afford to give their children a nice Thanksgiving dinner or a warm jacket to brave the fall and winter months. Having been a Staten Islander all his life, Frank Camuso has seen its ups and downs. And in the year 2012, seeing all the families that were left homeless or without anything after Hurricane Sandy, he and his family have vowed to do what they can to help those in need, especially around the holidays. For anyone looking to help out with the cause, and help families in need during the holidays, Staten Island’s Family-to-Family is partnering with the Food Bank of New York to provide groceries and much more. This Thanksgiving be thankful for all that you have and help give back to those in need.