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Hunts Point firm continues holiday tradition

A 90-year-old business in the Hunts Point Market kept their tradition of giving to others during this holiday season.

Nathel and Nathel, a family-owned produce business that originally started in Manhattan in 1922, has been more than generous the last 10 Christmas seasons. Although of Jewish descent, Ira and Sheldon Nathel, third-generation business owners, feel that it’s only right to donate gifts to children who really need it during Christmas time.

“For us Christmas is more of a universal holiday,” said Ira. “No matter what ethnicity you are, this is the best time of year to take time out of your life and help anyone.”

The company works together with the borough president’s office every year to hold an event that donates $2,000 worth of toys to children. A variety of toys were donated such as board games, dolls, stuffed animals and action figures. Angel Helck, executive administrator for Nathel and Nathel, did all of the toy shopping herself this year for the donation.

“It truly is such a generous donation from the Nathel family,” Helck said. “When the day comes that we give out all of the toys to the kids it’s such a great feeling to see the smiles on all of their faces.

Sonia Malave, special events coordinator to Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., went to the Nathel and Nathel’s office to collect all of the toys in order to prepare for the event. The company’s workers all agree that it always feels good to give back to those who do not have much of their own. According to Rich Byllott, CFO of Nathel and Nathel, all of the workers are very close to each other in an enjoyable work environment created by the executives.

“We’ve been able to maintain our employees because we believe in treating them well,” said Byllott. “We feel the need to give back to them for what they do for us and because of that we work together in giving back to others.”

The event, which used to take place near the corner of 161st Street and Grand Concourse, was held in the Great Hall at Yankee Stadium on Friday, December 17 for the first time. The hall was decorated in a Christmas theme with holiday music playing for all those who attended.

The borough president’s office sent out letters in advance to various schools throughout the Bronx to notify students and parents of the event taking place. For those who attended, they were able to meet Santa and receive a gift on a first come first serve basis.

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