Like everything, the annual Toys for Tots fundraiser at the Warren Tavern is being done a little differently this year, said Organizer Kim Mahoney.
In what is the 29th or 30th year for collecting toys for kids in the neighborhood – with the effort directly benefitting the Kennedy Center and the Charlestown Residents Alliance (CRA) – the Tavern has moved the celebration mostly to a week-long online format – though the Tavern will still be open to guests and they hope people would do take-out to celebrate.
“We are doing a week-long even which kicked off last Sunday and will continue through Sunday, Dec. 6,” said Mahoney. “We ask everyone to bring in an unwrapped toy and drop it off at the Tavern during business hours. For each new, unwrapped toy, people will get a raffle ticket and there will be a virtual event live on Facebook Dec. 6 to announce the winners.”
The event is featuring videos from local politicians and celebrities, including Attorney General Maura Healey, State Rep. Dan Ryan, Councilor Lydia Edwards, Mayor Martin Walsh, Bruins Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, Comedian Tony V and Actor Jonathan Tucker. – among others.
One of the raffle items, incidentally, is a signed jersey from Grzelcyk – among many other items.
Mahoney said the Tavern has had a great year despite the pandemic, and said the expansion to the patio and on the street was a “game-changer.”
However, for many in the community, this will be the toughest Christmas in years – and for others every Christmas is tough. That’s why she said they have been resolute in keeping the tradition going and making a bigger call than ever for toys to help the kids of the Town.
“We’ve been on the corner of Main and Pleasant Streets since 1780 and so no pandemic will stop us,” she said. “This year more than ever our families need help. The well is a little deeper. Families have lost jobs and kids are out there and they need a pick-me-up because of this year where they’re not able to see their friends or go to school. It’s a nice thing if we can bring a smile to a little kid that’s had a tough year.”