When throngs of Christmas revelers descend on the Warren Tavern this Sunday, Dec. 2, to kick off the Toys for Tots toy drive in Charlestown, there will be hundreds of toys given in the spirit of the holidays, but it is the behind the scenes work that often goes unseen.
For several decades the Tavern has hosted the Toys for Tots open house, and this Sunday, Dec. 2, from 4-8 p.m., will be no different. All are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy, and they will receive a raffle ticket for each toy. The raffle is extraordinary, and Tavern manager Kim Mahoney, said this year will be no different.
But she also said that after the party is over, it is the great work from local organizations to get the toys to the needy that counts more than anything.
“At the Tavern, we do this every year and we love to do it, but we’re just the vehicle to get the toys to the needy,” she said. “We’ll have the Tavern sparkling during the day of the event, and it will be a lot of fun, but the biggest story is all of the services that the organizations do for the community afterward. I really want all of those folks and their organizations to be recognized as well. We work with the Kennedy Center, and in particularly Krystal Galvin, who all give their heart and soul to this and don’t get a lot for it. We’re happy to be the vehicle, but they do the great work.”
All of the toys collected this year will go to Charlestown families in need, and the Tavern works with the Kennedy Center, the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club (with Director Derrick Gallagher) and the Charlestown Residents Alliance to make sure that happens.
This year, for the first time, greeting revelers at the door will be a female U.S. Marine.
Mahoney said they would have U.S. Marine Sgt. Lynn Alexis accepting donations on behalf of the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots campaign, which the effort is aligned with.
Beyond that, Mahoney said all of the businesses she has approached have been very generous with donating gift cards, merchandise and other gifts to the cause.
“Every business in Charlestown should be a doer,” said Mahoney. “This is a great time to show that. We have one square mile and a lot of potential. Every business should step up and help and most do – especially at this time of year. Every business I have approached has gladly donated because we all come together on this event to help the community. We try to make it that everyone who donates something leaves with something.”
Additionally, the event usually attracts many elected officials, and this year Mayor Martin Walsh is expected to come by after lighting the Christmas tree in Thompson Square.
State Rep. Dan Ryan and State Sen. Sal DiDomenico are expected to make appearances, and perhaps Gov. Charlie Baker will stop by once again as well.
In the end, Mahoney said it is a fun way for everyone to help these organizations help the needy right in Charlestown’s one-square mile.
“For me, I really want everyone to recognize the behind-the-scenes work that goes on after the party is over and the people in our community who are tirelessly working to be there, using these donations we collect, to help families in need in our community,” she said. “They make a huge contribution every day and often don’t get a lot of recognition for it.”
- THOMPSON SQURE TREE LIGHTING SUNDAY
Mayor Martin Walsh announced the Enchanted Trolley visit and Christmas tree lighting would take place in Thompson Square this Sunday, Dec. 2, around 4:30 p.m.
“I’m excited to kick off this holiday season by visiting neighborhoods throughout Boston with our trolley tour and tree lightings,” said Mayor Walsh. “This is a great time for us to come together and celebrate our neighbors, our city, and our communities. I encourage all to attend this weekend of family-friendly celebrations.”
For the 23rd year, the Mayor’s Enchanted Trolley Tour will continue the festive tradition of lighting holiday trees while bringing holiday spirit to children across Boston. The event is sponsored by Bank of America, and includes visits with Santa, holiday performances, and more.
- CHAMBER WREATHS ON MAIN STREET
The Charlestown Chamber will be holding their annual wreath decorating event on Saturday morning, Dec. 1. Volunteers will meet at the Charlestown Knights of Columbus at 9 a.m. and then fan out along Main Street and other thoroughfares to hand 200 wreaths from the lampposts.
This year, Jimmy Lister said, Hood Park has sponsored all of the wreaths, and has been very generous in helping to decorate the Town for the holidays.
New member Scott Holmes has offered to coordinate the event as well, and by mid-day, expect the Town to be decked out for the holidays.
- FIRST CHURCH BREAKFAST WITH SANTA, HOLIDAY BAZAAR
The First Church in Charlestown will host its 2nd annual Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to noon at the church, 10 Green St. The event is free to the entire community and also will have a craft bazaar with local artisans selling their wares for Christmas gifts.
There will be free pancakes and sausage and free photos with Santa.
- CHAMBER WINTER WONDERLAND
The Charlestown Chamber will host the annual Winter Wonderland and Holiday Stroll on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Training Field. Join the Chamber for a fun day of kids activities and shopping. There will be local vendors and nonprofit organizations with unique gifts for holiday shopping. Santa will arrive at 11 a.m. for pictures and there will be a kids holiday train ride throughout the day. DJ and Holiday Music will be provided by Mix 104.1 Karson Tager, and children’s crafts will be provided by Christ Church Charlestown. At 4:30 p.m. there will be a showing of the 1969 classic ‘Frosty the Snowman.’ Bring blankets and snacks for an evening under the stars watching a childhood favorite. Vendors and nonprofits can sign up at www.CharlestownMAChamber.org.