The Salvation Army of Wilkes-Barre has recognized Joe and Andrea Amato, prominent business owners and philanthropists in Northeast Pennsylvania, for their outstanding commitment to the betterment of the Wilkes-Barre area. The Amato’s received the Community Service Award at The Salvation Army of Wilkes-Barre’s Annual Dinner on May 18.
The Salvation Army Community Service Award is presented annually to an outstanding citizen(s) who, by his or her courageous leadership, sensitivity and dedication on behalf of humanity, has made a valuable contribution to the fabric of community life. Joe and Andrea Amato were born and raised in Northeast Pennsylvania. Joe has owned several businesses throughout his career, including A & A Auto Parts retail stores and Keystone Automotive Warehouse, the largest performance distribution company in the country. More than 1,200 local residents were employed as a result of the two companies. He sold the businesses in 1998, but continues to own and operate Joe Amato Properties, which includes commercial real estate in Northeast PA: City Centre, The Gateway Shopping Center, East End Centre and West End Plaza. Andrea Amato has dedicated her life to motherhood and charitable causes. Andrea served as the chairperson of The Benjamin School (of Palm Beach County, Florida) fashion show luncheon and the school’s gala, raising in excess of $800,000. She has also been a member of several committees of organizations that advocate for children. The Amato’s created the J.A. Foundation to further extend their philanthropy. The foundation has supported many local organizations, including: The United Way, Ballet Theater of Scranton, local Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Moosic Youth Center.
“The Amato’s are truly deserving of this special honor,” said Lt. Oziel Urbaez, Co-Commanding Officer, The Salvation Army of Wilkes-Barre. “Joe and Andrea have helped strengthen our local community by creating jobs and business opportunities. They’ve also changed the lives of individuals and families in Northeast PA with their extraordinary spirit of generosity.”
The Salvation Army of Wilkes-Barre’s Annual Dinner is an opportunity to recognize volunteers, community partners and individuals who demonstrate an extraordinary spirit of service. The event also raises funds and serves to increase awareness of its valuable programs and services.
Funding raised for The Salvation Army of Wilkes-Barre’s Annual Dinner will directly benefit The Kirby House, which helps local families transition out of homelessness and into self-sufficiency. The program aims to tackle the long-term, systemic and sometimes complex issues that are at the root of a family’s homelessness. The Kirby Family House is able to do this through counseling, education and connecting families with other human services available in the Wyoming Valley.
The Salvation Army is committed to “doing the most good” in Wilkes-Barre – serving more than 4,700 individuals each year – by providing transitional housing (The Kirby House,) youth programs, summer camp, emergency disaster services, emergency food pantry, furniture and clothing, assistance for families at Christmas, budget counseling, Sunday school, church services, pastoral care, nursing home visitation and more.
Six prime parking spaces in the complex now are reserved for those wounded while serving in the U.S. military. The spaces are marked with signs that depict a Purple Heart, the medal given to those killed or wounded in action.