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Only In America

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Millions of immigrants have traveled to the United States in search of the new opportunities, but Emilia (Emily) Zecchino’s story is a true example of achieving the “American Dream.” Zecchino was born in the middle of a depression in Bari, Italy, in 1928. In search of work, her family moved first to Rome, then Trieste in Northern Italy, and finally to Ethiopia when it became an Italian colony in 1937. In 1941, her dad was taken as a prisoner of war and spent five years in a concentration camp in Kenya while the rest of the family was sent back to Italy on the famous International Red Cross-sponsored "Navi Bianche"—a trip of 40 days that began in Mogadishou, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and finally ended in Naples, Italy, while the war was raging in the Atlantic.

During the American occupation of Italy, Zecchino met her husband and came to the United States in 1947. She helped her husband run a grocery store in New York for 20 years, but at the age of 55, and with an investment of only $1,000, Emily opened “Holiday Caterers.” The company slowly evolved into a wholesale frozen food enterprise and was renamed “Holiday Foods.” After building a U.S.D.A. plant, she started to manufacture an upscale line of hors d’oeuvres, canapés, and center of the plate specialties, that she sold to several hotel chains, famous country clubs, and cruise lines through renowned distributors around the United States and the company grew to over 200 employees! 

Read more about Zecchino’s inspiring story in her book, “Only in America.” http://bit.ly/uJ0jar