Townie Tidbits


Decembers are for remembering and sharing especially in Charlestown where folks rarely forget their humble roots and all their blessings. Townies also know that many struggle once again especially around the Holidays.

    Once again , “Harvest on the Vine” has been and hopefully will always be there for folks in need. Just before Thanksgiving Day, the Annual Turkey and Trimmings distribution took place outside old St. Catherine’s Church. People began lining up on that recent Friday morning around 7 AM  but things didn’t start until 2PM. Some folks feared items might run out before they made it to the front of the line. For some this Harvest was their only hope. The Harvest  on the Vine  has become for many a dependable place, but the need sometimes so great, that many are scared that without this valuable source of food for their families, they would have nowhere to turn.

  I couldn’t believe the high numbers of families, of children who live in poverty side by side everyone else. Charlestown is a hot real estate market. Rentals are going sky high.  Charlestown like many other communities is like the Charles Dickens’ novel, a Tale of Two Cities.  Poverty and wealth sharing a community together

    According to Tommy MacDonald who runs this food pantry, over 750 turkeys  and 12 thousand pounds of canned good and produce were give away on that recent distribution day. The need is great and thanks to all the folks from Tommy and  Judy Burton and so many others, people are being helped over and over again. This food pantry has been around 12 years now and appears not to be going away anytime too soon because the need remains  so great and sadly growing too.

  Father Jim Ronan told the Patriot Bridge that the pantry has become a critical piece of the community’s human services infrastructure. As he also said, the pantry started small and tapped into a great need out there and the pantry’s mission grew along with the need.

  Harvest on the Vine is like a hospital emergency room for families who run out of options.

   Hopefully, someday we will no longer need food pantries but that won’t happen overnight.

   I know first hand remembering when I was very young, my parents had to turn for help to the St. Francis de Sales Society for some help one Christmas. My dad hated doing that but he had no choice. When he got back on his feet by Easter, he returned to the Society and repaid his gift to help someone else in need too.

   All of us must never remember to give back. Many of us had struggling immigrant grandparents who came here with nearly nothing and made something out of nothing raising families who should never forget the struggle that got us to where we find ourselves today.

  This Christmas think about each other and help where you can. One place to start might be stopping by Harvest on the Vine and tell Tommy or Judy that you’re there to help with the harvesting.

   As we get closer to Christmas, we will see the very best of Charlestown in Townies who come together every year to bring joy into struggling lives. That is what “Townie Santa” has been all about going back to 1982 when Jim and Gloria Conway of the old Charlestown Patriot and many others launched Townie Santa and started bringing joy into peoples’ lives who often saw little joy in their daily struggles of aging. Showing up at their doors is the best Christmas present many see which is why we who are more fortunate have a duty to look out for each other and spread joy. We are all better for it.

Sal can be reached at [email protected]

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