Oscar Hernandez, the president of the 114-year-old fraternal organization, said the annual event is especially important to the children, who got a chance to meet with Santa Claus at this year's luncheon.
“We take care of them with events like this,” Hernandez said at O'Neill's last Friday.
In order to continue their annual college scholarship program and other benefits for the families, Hernandez said the organization holds numerous fundraising events. Currently, the NYPD Honor Legion takes care of roughly 3,000 active members.
When the Maspeth restaurant burned down two years ago, Hernandez said owner George O’Neill tried to continue the event during the rebuilding process.
“He wanted to get a catering hall and pay for it so we could still have this event,” Hernandez said. “We didn’t allow that since he has already done more than his generous share. But let me tell you, that guy has the biggest heart.”
O’Neill has offered his space and food to the NYPD Honor Legion every year since he took ownership from his father decades ago.
“We feed them and they get to use the facility,” he said. “O’Neill’s takes care of everything.”