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Residents, Kennedy Center Make Holidays Brighter for Charlestown Children

More than 400 local children experienced a brighter holiday.

Due the generosity of many Charlestown residents, civic organizations and local businesses, the John F. Kennedy Center Family Service Center’s 2013 Holiday Toy Drive was again a rousing success, with more than 400 local children’s receiving holiday gifts. 

The Kennedy Center – the Charlestown based non-profit organization that provides early childhood education programs, day care and afterschool services, anti-poverty services and elder care – will celebrate fifty years of service to the Charlestown community in 2014. Each year, the Kennedy Center reaches out to the community seeking assistance with its annual Holiday Toy Drive. 

This year the community response was overwhelmingly positive, so much so that the Kennedy Center was able to provide gifts to 100 more children than in 2012. 

The success of our 2013 Toy Drive was due to the generosity of the Charlestown Mothers Association (CMA) and their members, Whole Foods Market and their customers, Smarter Travel Media, Action for Boston Community Development, Boston Firefighter’s Local 718, Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard, and the many other Charlestown community members and local businesses that either sponsored a family or made a donation to the Toy Drive.  

The Kennedy Center’s special thanks goes out to Jane Reitz of the Charlestown Mothers Association as she spent countless hours in the design and implementation of this year’s drive. Jane organized and distributed Kennedy Center gift requests to members of CMA, she used her home as a drop off center for gifts, and she promoted the support of the drive throughout the community. 

Perhaps the most touching and heartwarming support, however, came from a group of 8- and 9-year-old children from Charlestown's Warren Prescott School who sold Rainbow Loom bracelets to raise money for the toy drive. This entrepreneurial group of children, pictured below, raised $120 for the toy drive from bracelet sale. The children used the money raised to purchase toys for an eight year old girl and four year old boy whose parents were struggling to make their Christmas wishes come true. After purchasing the toys, the children had enough money left over to give a $50 dollar gift card to the parents. This act of children helping families in need is evidence of the spirit of generosity that runs through the Charlestown community.

The Kennedy Center’s Board of Directors and staff extends its gratitude to all those who participated in this year’s Toy Drive.  

If you are interested in finding out more about the Kennedy Center’s programs and services, volunteering time, or would like to make a donation, please contact Barbara Weninger, director of capacity and program development, at bweninger@kennedycenter.org.

karen dempsey carney January 19, 2014 at 10:11 AM
Having conversations about helping out year round "local love" instead of heading to the dumpster with an old piece of furniture or appliance donate to the Kennedy Center need storage and or container at a drop site?

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