By Maggie Gioia
On Thursday, Dec. 8, the National Convenience Distributors Team attended the Bolla Charity Foundation’s annual gala at the Garden City Hotel in support of the foundation’s acts of community service including massive contributions to local Toys for Tots drives, Girl Scouts of the USA, first responders, scholarship funds and, most notably, military veteran assistance programs.
Bolla Market, or Bolla Oil Corp., was formed in 1989, only five years after Bolla’s CEO, Harry Singh, and his wife, Kamljit Singh, immigrated to New York City from Punjab, India. What started as an auto mechanic shop in Brooklyn quickly transformed into a billion-dollar empire with partners like Mobil, Exxon, Sunoco, Shell, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Red Mango and Tim Horton’s, as well as approximately 2,000 employees and 300 gas stations and convenience stores.
NCD has been servicing Bolla Market for roughly two decades while also maintaining a partner role within the Bolla Charity Foundation since its inception in 2013.
The Bolla Charity Foundation was ultimately inspired by the selflessness experienced during and after the World Trade Center tragedy on September 11, 2001. With a Bolla location just blocks from ground zero, the Singh’s were moved to take action. The first official project of the foundation contributed to a building on the seven acre First Responders Memorial Recreational Field in Islandia, New York. From there on, the foundation has worked with other major nonprofits such as United Veterans Beacon House, where the foundation aided in the restoration of a dozen homes to serve as veterans group homes across Long Island. Similarly, the foundation joined forces with Building Homes For Heroes to construct a mortgage-free home for Marines veteran Billy Ventura.
Today, the Bolla Charity Foundation aims to continue this work, and with the high cost of living on Long Island, their efforts to provide homes for injured and homeless veterans have been profound.
“Since I was a child, I was always concerned for other people. I thought, we are not going to be here forever. We are only here for a short time, so whatever we can do, is for each other,” shared Kamljit Singh in a video interview.
The annual Bolla Charity Foundation Gala raised funds to ensure the preservation of this very mission. With encouragement from special guests Nassau County executive Bruce Blakeman and Suffolk County executive, Steve Bellone, the organization has garnered immense positive feedback from the Long Island community. Legendary opera singer, Christopher Macchio, sealed in the night’s energy with an unforgettable performance.
“We are very proud to have such a strong relationship with Bolla Market, but we are especially proud to uphold our partnership with the Bolla Charity Foundation, which has a significant impact on the local community,” said Michael Ambrosio, who works closely with Bolla as NCD Tri-State’s field sales key account manager. “It’s empowering to come to work each day knowing that our efforts make influential organizations like this possible.”