Person of the Week
Sylvia Curcio Loves Giving Back to Family and Community
Sylvia Curcio has always made time to volunteer in various ways in the community, while also making family time a priority. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Curcio )
Though Sylvia Curcio grew up in Canada and lived in Michigan with her husband, they have called the Connecticut shoreline home for more than three decades.
“We love Connecticut with the beaches, water, and ocean,” says Sylvia. “I love our community. Everyone takes care of each other and watches out for each other.”
Sylvia has not only seen her hometown community of East Haven come together to support each other, but the Branford community as well. Sylvia, her husband, Vinny, and their extended family own and operate Indian Neck Pizza, 202 Montowese Street in Branford.
“We love serving the community,” says Sylvia. “Especially this past year with COVID, people have been so generous, supportive, and amazing. We also have a tight-knit community with the other businesses around us, too, and we all work together.”
It was the Curcios’ family history in the restaurant business that brought Sylvia and Vinny to Connecticut from Michigan. When they first moved to the area, Vinny worked with a cousin before Vinny and his three brothers opened their own restaurant. Now Indian Neck Pizza has been in the family for more than 20 years.
Though Sylvia helps out at the restaurant when needed, she also worked at Quality Hyundai in Branford and New Haven for 19 years. She now works part-time at Quality Subaru in Wallingford.
Along with working at the restaurant and the car dealership, Sylvia fills the rest of her time with watching her grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, family gatherings, and volunteering.
“Because the restaurant is open six days a week, we have a lot of family functions on Mondays so the husbands can join us,” says Sylvia, who often hosts the gatherings at her house. “We’re a close-knit family. That’s the Italian in us. We all see each other a couple times a week, including after church on Sundays.”
She has three married daughters—Ave Maria, who lives in Clinton; Cinzia, who lives in North Branford; and Lidia, who lives down the street from her parents in East Haven. She also has three grandchildren—eight-year-old Sofia, three-year-old Aria, and two-year-old Leo.
When her family comes to visit, along with her children and grandchildren, there are also nieces, nephews, and cousins and their children.
“It’s a joy and I love it when everyone is here,” says Sylvia. “It’s just fun, especially with the grandkids and cousins growing and seeing them all playing together. I’m glad that they have that relationship with each other.”
Sylvia also gets to see many of the children outside of family gatherings as well. She watches her grandkids several times a week. They also enjoy doing arts and crafts and visits to Fired Up and Rose Orchards. She also loves watching their soccer games.
“I just love being with them. I’d do anything for them,” says Sylvia. “It’s the laughter, the playing—I can’t live without them. They’re my life.”
Sylvia also dedicates many hours of her time to the church she and her family attend. She has been a member of Shoreline Community Church, formerly the Church of the Good Shepherd, on Hopson Avenue for 30 years.
As a member of the church, Sylvia has participated in a number of volunteer opportunities. Her church organized the Night to Shine at Bill Miller’s Castle as well as the Light the Night event on the Branford Green on Halloween.
Sylvia is also part of the church’s women’s ministry, which meets once a month. In addition to the meetings, the group also performs various acts of community service, including making blankets for Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital and baking 125 pumpkin breads at the Community Dining Room to be distributed on Thanksgiving.
“I love the community, the friendship, and the love at that church,” says Sylvia. “It just feels wonderful to help other people. I don’t like the recognition; I just try to help. The church is always trying to extend a hand and figure out what we can do for the community and there’s a genuine love in that church.”
Thanksgiving isn’t the only time that Sylvia has helped out at the Community Dining Room. She used to volunteer on a weekly basis, putting her skill for cooking for large crowds to use. Due to work and watching her grandkids, she isn’t able to volunteer weekly anymore, but still tries to help when she can.
“When I go now, they want me to cook,” says Sylvia. “We used to go at 9 a.m. to get ready for lunch, but now with COVID, we have to cook, get it ready, bag it, and pass it out from the door with masks.”
Sylvia enjoys cooking, but one of her favorite pastimes is baking. She and her family love making Italian cookies, especially for showers. Her daughter had suggested Sylvia participate in the East Haven Chamber of Commerce’s Anginette Wars event this year, but it was canceled.
Sylvia and her husband also enjoy spending time on their boat and fishing, occasionally taking the older grandkids. Sylvia noted that Sofia particularly enjoys fishing and that Vinny made her a personalized tackle box.
Between her work and her time with her family, Sylvia has a very busy schedule. Despite this, she is always sure to continue volunteering.
“You have to make the time for it,” says Sylvia. “You can’t just wait for the right time to do it, just like with anything. You’ve got to put it into your schedule.”
Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .