This is the time of year for family, food, gifts and merriment. Thanksgiving and Christmas cheer can be spotted through store windows, street decorations, music and smiling faces. However, what happens if you have no family? What happens if you don’t have certain necessities such as food, money and shelter? I’m sure the Holiday season seems a lot less merry.
Some organizations choose to host specific events to raise money, goods, and awareness for homeless people living in Boston- particularly during the Holiday season. Throughout the month, dinners, lunches, and activities are available all around the city. Here are some great events I’ve found that people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy. Whether you’re a parent, college student, or just looking to help, I’m sure you’ll find something that will interest you. These events are all held within the next couple of weeks and are available at different times and dates.
If you’re looking to spend big bucks, there are benefits such as the 8th Annual “Home for the Holidays,” hosted by the Travelers Aid Family Services. On Thursday, December 9th, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., there will be elegant cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, along with a keynote addressed by Mayor Thomas Menino. The event will be held at Parkman House in Boston and tickets are $500 per person. All proceeds will go towards the agency’s programs that work towards helping underprivileged families regain their self-sufficiency. (For tickets call 617-542-7286 x249)
For people who love to party, Crawl in Boston is hosting the “12 Bars of Christmas” on Saturday, December 13th. The event will be supporting the Horizons for Homeless Children Charity. People of all ages (over 21) are welcome to join the annual bar crawl that raises money and goods for the local charity, one drink at a time. Horizons for Homeless Children Charity provides opportunities for underprivileged children that are otherwise not always available. They help stabilize families and strive to break the cycle of homelessness, especially during this season. They are asking for $5 to attend, and the proceeds of your donations will go straight to the organization. Everyone who donates will receive:
– Crawl in Boston nametag
– Crawl in Boston Beverage Koozie
– Crawl in Boston Bar Map
– Crawl in Boston Stamp- to guarantee drink specials and no covers
You can RSVP on the Facebook event ASAP, and the schedule will be released as the event gets closer, so keep checking!
For families with children, the Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers are hosting “The gingerbread tea program” at Swan’s Café from Friday, November 14th through Friday, December 12th. People are welcome daily between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. for after school Gingerbread and Tea. Tickets are $32.50 for adults and $16.50 for children. Children are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy that will be donated to a local organization committed to improving the lives of homeless kids and their families. They’ll get a special gingerbread man cookie to take home as a thank you.
Even local college sports teams are striving for change. The Harvard Men’s hockey team is partnering with Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program to host a family holiday skate on Saturday, December 18th. The goal is to collect winter clothing items for area homeless men, women and children. The skate will last from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Harvard’s Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge. Admission is free with any donation of new winter clothing items. Other activities available on this day are a visit from Santa, face painting and holiday arts and crafts. (For more information phone: 617-495-5593.)
So maybe an event isn’t your thing? Or maybe you’re just too busy to attend any of these occasions. There’s still many different ways people in Boston can help provide for homeless people during the next few weeks. Donating or purchasing certain gifts through charities are quick and easy ways to lend a hand.
Friends of Boston’s Homeless is a year-round, local organization that is offering holiday cards for $1. With orders of 50 or more, you can even personalize them. The proceeds will go towards their cause of providing for the area’s less fortunate. They are currently working on projects such as “Operation Sock Drop,” which encourages people to donate at least 1 brand-new (or gently used) pair of socks to their sock drive. Their “Warm hands, Warm Heart’s” project also asks people to donate winter hats, scarves, or a pair of gloves or mittens. Participants can organize sock drives and other winter clothes drives at their school, place of work or even with friends and family. You can feel good about helping keep the less fortunate safe, warm and healthy. (Check out their organization at http://www.fobh.org or call for more information at 617-534-6148.)
The Action for Boston Development Inc. (ABCD Boston) is asking the community to help out with their cause. They’re accepting donated toys up until Wed. December 23rd, and can be delivered to any ABCD community site including the central office at 178 Tremont, Boston. (Check out their organization at http://www.bostonabcd.org or call for more information call 617-348-6559.)
Christmas in the City is collecting toys to distribute to homeless children in the Boston area. They even make donating accessible online. You can find the Amazon wishlist by clicking here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/33MK1K24C4WVJ
To help volunteer, email: email@example.com
Other donations are welcome at http://www.justgive.org
(For more information, visit http://www.christmasinthecity.org, or call 617-542-6611.)
If you don’t have a lot to give, you can always volunteer your time. Places such as St. Francis House at 39 Boylston St., Boston (617-542-4211) and Pine Street Inn Inc. at 444 Harrison Ave., Boston (617-482-4944) are organizations that supply shelter and food for Boston’s homeless. They accept walk in volunteers on the weekends, and you will definitely leave feeling more fulfilled.
So there; a variety of great opportunities to help give back this holiday season. With the recent passing of Thanksgiving, we give thanks for all that we have. As Christmas approaches, we anticipate all that this special day has to offer. These few weeks are a time for all these great things, but we rarely remember those who don’t have these privileges. It is so simple to take just a little bit of time out of your day to provide what seem to be such ordinary things. In this entry, I’ve given a variety of ways you can make this possible! Stay informed over the next few weeks as I explore some of these organizations and report on the differences they really make. Stay tuned, and Merry Christmas!