By Sal Giarratani
Return of Townie Santa Warmly Welcomed
I was so glad to hear that Townie Santa, which was MIA for several years, is returning to brighten up the lives of so many homebound elderly folks.
A number of volunteers from many community organizations are uniting to bring back this Charlestown tradition that started back in 1982 when Gloria Conway from the old Charlestown Patriot got together with a number of community activists in the Town. Together, they wanted to do something for those who often feel so alone and forgotten during the Holidays, since so many only have memories of Christmas Past.
I was there at the inception of this Christmas gift to older Townies who could use a little company, a few presents and a nice hot meal, and we weren’t going to let them be forgotten.
I remember meeting downstairs at the old Harvard School (renamed the Mary Colbert Apartments). My parents loved this tradition and felt like they were still a vital part of the community as they aged. I delivered meal after meal over those first years and saw folks on the receiving end smiling with joy, just knowing they were being remembered.
Too often, good things eventually come to an end, and this is what happened to Townie Santa, too. He stopped coming to Charlestown, but the memory of all those good folk who shared their time to help others only makes us all happier. Charlestown was, is and will always be a special community that truly cares about others around them.
My friend Kim Mahoney from the Bunker Hill Associates and the Warren Tavern said: “We are bringing back Townie Santa this year…Charlestown shines when we do things like this. It’s the way the community comes together …that’s the fabric of the community.”
I can still the faces of all community folk back who created Townie Santa almost 40 years ago because they knew the community needed it, and today, it is needed even more as more and more people seem to fall between the cracks.
I believe I was part of the last Townie Santa Christmas several years ago, and there were so many names I still remember who worked together year after year to make sure no one was forgotten during the holidays.
I hope a new generation of Townies can pick up the mantle of what worked so well, and I will be back doing my part again, a little older, as they say, but still there.
With the help of many, I’m sure the spirit of Townie Santa will rise again, and that the spirit of those who have left us will be with this year’s volunteers. And surely those of us still here will join in with all the newbies kicking off Part 2 of Townie Santa.