Although the coronavirus is strong, it can’t stop The Force. The 501st Legion - Empire City Garrison — a professional Star Wars cosplaying group — will hold a virtual troop Saturday on Facebook from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to raise funds for Long Island Cares - The Harry Chapin Food Bank.
“Our members will suit up in their costumes at home doing funny things around the house while livestreaming every 15-20 minutes,” says Commanding Officer Chris Feehan, 48, of Mineola. “We want to still do good in the community even during these trying times.”
Brent Chiarello, 33, of Plainview will be portraying a Sandtrooper while reading to and walking with his 2-month-old daughter, Robin.
“We all have to do whatever we can to keep ourselves sane during this quarantine period,” Chiarello says. “It just takes people away from the craziness of reality if only for a 10-second period of time. There’s nothing quite like seeing these extremely intimidating characters doing everyday things.”
Standing 5-foot-3 Candace Gelfman, 38, of Oceanside will take on the role of a Jawa.
“They are different and cute, but there’s also mystery around them,” she says about her character. “I might shoot a video where I take apart my vacuum because Jawas are known to be scavengers.”
These cosplayers are used to being out and about appearing at various charitable events each week, so they miss the interaction with fans.
“We want people to see that you can still be a community online,” says Feehan, who plans on dressing as a Scout trooper. “You don’t necessarily need to be in the room with the same people to share a common experience with a group of like-minded individuals.”