Kristopher Amplo, Ray Thomas, Anzhelika Steen-Olsen, Jeremiah Josey, Pop.Earth Founder Debbie Stone, Rhonda Klch & Rich Salgado (Photo by Ed Shin)

Pop.Earth hosted its “Cocktails for Autism” event on Tuesday, April 26 at Primo Piatto in Huntington.

Founder Debbie Stone tapped two Pop.Earth supporters, Rhonda Klch of Equity First Consultants and former event co-host Autumn Behm, to pull off an evening of cocktails to support those with autism and special needs. Event sponsors included Dr. Joshua Bratt DMD, the Shear family, E.J. Autism Foundation, and the Pollard family.

Pop.Earth announced that it will open its own center for autism and special needs after a decade of service to Huntington Station. Grant Havasy of Blue & Gold Builders has assisted them in securing an appropriate space at 1046 New York Ave. in Huntington Station, which will have a soft open in August.

In addition to its ongoing health- and wellness-based programs, Pop.Earth is launching “Cultivate,” a vocational program to help those with special needs secure work in restaurants, which was documented by News12 and piloted last summer with Executive Chef David Buico of Mercato Cucina and Arcobaleno Pasta. Clark Gillies Foundation board members Paul Paternoster and Kris Amplo announced their foundation has purchased the naming rights to the kitchen in Clark’s memory with a $10,000 donation.

Also in attendance was Rich “Big Daddy” Salgado and his event partner Anzhelika Steen-Olsen who announced Pop.Earth as the main beneficiary of this year’s Big Daddy Golf Tournament.

“It’s a huge vote of confidence from the Clark Gillies Foundation and the Big Daddy Golf Tournament for us as we take this long-awaited step forward into our own space. We are grateful and thankful for everyone’s support,” said Pop.Earth founder Deb Stone.

For more about Pop.Earth and how you can give to the new center, please visit popearth.org.

Rhonda Klch, Kristopher Amplo & Debbie Stone (Photo by Ed Shin)
Rich Salgado & Gary Brown (Photo by Ed Shin)
Ray Thomas & Mary Marrazzo (Photo by Ed Shin)
Julia Abreu, Debbie Stone, MariaElena Di Mino & Rhonda Klch (Photo by Ed Shin)
Steve Spurgeon (Photo by Ed Shin)
Green Bay Packers Super Bowl Champion Gary Brown & John Ankelman (Photo by Ed Shin)
Ray Thomas, James Manicone & Nick Symanski (Photo by Ed Shin)
Edward Jarvis & Autumn Behm (Photo by Ed Shin)
Autumn Behm, Christina Lentini, Jennifer Semonella & Jason A Martello (Photo by Ed Shin)
Sponsor Amy Bratt & Josh Bratt Sponsor Joshua Bratt DMD MC (Photo by Ed Shin)
David Buico,Chef & Owner of Mercato Cucina Dodie Daniels (Photo by Ed Shin)
Ray Thomas (Photo by Ed Shin)
Event Sponsor Tom Stein & Elisa Stein owners of Tommy Tacos (Photo by Ed Shin)
Jeremiah Josey (Photo by Ed Shin)
Rich Salgado – Event Sponsor and organizer of the Big Daddy Golf Tournament (Photo by Ed Shin)

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