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Suffolk Legislature Recognizes ‘Women of Distinction,’ Countywide Honoree

Members of the Suffolk County Legislature recognized female community leaders from each of the county’s legislative districts for their work and announced Marit Molin of Water Mill as the countywide recipient of the “Suffolk County Woman of Distinction” honor.

In recognition of Women’s History Month, the Suffolk County Legislature since 2003 has honored local women in March to acknowledge and recognize the work they do to better their county and country. One outstanding woman is chosen from each legislative district, and from that pool of honorees, an overall countywide winner is chosen by the Suffolk County Women’s Advisory Commission as the “Suffolk County Woman of Distinction.”

“I commend all of these women for their dedication to their communities, their extraordinary leadership, and their unending generosity when it comes to giving their time and attention to worthy causes,” said Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer Rob Calarco. “They are role models for young girls everywhere and the epitome of community stewardship. My colleagues in the legislature and I offer our congratulations and gratitude to Marit Molin and the other Woman of Distinction honorees.”

Legislator Bridget Fleming, who nominated Ms. Molin as a resident of the Second Legislative District, said, “As this COVID-19 pandemic has brought strains and challenges to every member of our community, Marit has provided opportunities for girls and others to give of themselves to truly help their neighbors and community. Her initiative brilliantly served a double purpose. It has fed the hungry and offered a lifeline to local businesses in tough times. Every restaurant that participated is still in operation. Marit’s efforts shine and offer as a model for how volunteer service in the community has far-reaching and far-lasting beneficial effects on our community. She is well-deserving of the honor of Suffolk County’s ‘Woman of Distinction.’”

Ms. Molin is the founder and executive director of Hampton Community Outreach (HCO). At the outset of the pandemic and the sudden economic shutdown that followed, Ms. Molin wanted to find a way to feed people in need in her community and help struggling restaurants stay in business. She began a fundraising campaign that raised $250,000 in cash donations and $70,000 in food donations, helping her achieve both goals. In 2020, HCO delivered 5,000 cooked meals and 18,000 pounds of fresh produce. In addition, since March of last year, HCO has delivered groceries and medical supplies to 150 households biweekly and continues to do so.

A licensed social worker and practicing therapist, Ms. Molin saw the need for therapy among underserved individuals. She raised funds that were used to provide therapy for these individuals at no charge. She also started a tutoring program to help children in desperate need of academic support. Ms. Molin also created the #ICARE kindness campaign to raise funds to address the needs of marginalized people. Services have included urgent medical care for the poor and uninsured, birthday celebrations, and ongoing art and tennis instruction for children at no charge. Ms. Molin also founded Hamptons Art Camp in 2018 to provide a creative, active and fun environment for children from different backgrounds. Approximately 40 percent of campers attend for no charge.

Ms. Molin has been a socially conscientious voice in the Hamptons community for many years and is a troop leader for Girl Scout Troop #642, which consists of 11 girls who live on the Shinnecock Reservation. She and her husband have two children.

Full list of nominees for the 2021 Woman of Distinction award:

Karen Rivara from Legislative District 1, nominated by Legislator Al Krupski

Marit Molin from Legislative District 2, nominated by Legislator Bridget Fleming

April Coppola, from Legislative District 3, nominated by Legislator Rudy Sunderman

Marisa Pizza, from Legislative District 4, nominated by Legislator Nick Caracappa

Melissa Paulson, from Legislative District 5, nominated by Deputy Presiding Officer Kara Hahn

Deborah Bonacasa, from Legislative District 6, nominated by Legislator Sarah Anker

Rev. Kara Bocchino, from Legislative District 7, nominated by Presiding Officer Rob Calarco

Deborah Stondell, from Legislative District 8, nominated by Legislator Anthony Piccirillo

Ellen Edelstein, from Legislative District 9, nominated by Legislator Samuel Gonzalez

Teresa Ryan, from Legislative District 10, nominated by Legislator Tom Cilmi

Lynn Luttenberg, from Legislative District 11, nominated by Legislator Steven Flotteron

Natalie Quigley Worthington, from Legislative District 12, nominated by Legislator Leslie Kennedy

Kerry Reilly De Jesus, from Legislative District 13, nominated by Legislator Robert Trotta

Melissa Muma, from Legislative District 14, nominated by Legislator Kevin McCaffrey

Denise Leary, from Legislative District 15, nominated by Legislator Jason Richberg

Prafulba Vaghela, from Legislative District 16, nominated by Legislator Susan A. Berland

Lisa Karrer and Deborah Porretto, from Legislative District 17, nominated by Legislator Tom Donnelly

Rev. Kim Gambino, from Legislative District 18, nominated by Legislator William Spencer

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