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Mayor Walsh huddles with North End kids at the NEAD Family Dinner (Photo by Donna Wells)

For those of you old enough to remember, you will know what this means: There was 13,909 in attendance at the Nazzaro Center last Monday night. The NEAD FAMILY DINNER/FAMILY TALK with Mayor Marty Walsh packed the house.

Entering the 8th year of a fantastic event that was the brainchild of deceased NEAD President Bobby Decristoforo, this was certainly the best and the biggest – Bobby would have been very proud. His idea was – growing up in the North End we all got together every night at dinner time with our families and talked about our day, our lives our family! Today, family is made up differently for everyone but nonetheless, we are all still family. So we get together as a big neighborhood family and have a great Italian meal and have a talk!

Avellino’s in Medford supplied the food at a discount for us, Bova’s donated the bread and cookies and Johnny from Mangia Mangia’s donated the canolis! Our corporate sponsor EVERSOURCE through their annual grant helped pay for the event. Mayor Walsh provided the talk, an important one to young and old in the room. We had children and parents from age 3 to 86 and everyone listened to the Mayor’s important message about the dangers of doing drugs and alcohol and how they can destroy your dreams. The Mayor saying he was a fortunate one who was able to turn his life around, not something he can say about others he knew.

In attendance and supporting this event were several community groups that collaborate with NEAD only a regular basis: Traci and Lydia from the Eliot School, Sherri and Diane from NEMPAC, Michelle Deveau from the Nazzaro Teen Center along with a dozen or so teenagers, James Luisi, Zack and Mary Wright of the NEW HEALTH, Becca and her family from Boston Community Collaborative, Dan Toscano and his family from North End Youth Hockey, members of the NEAA and Nazzaro Center Staff as well as State Senator Joe Boncore, Representative Aaron Michlewitz, City Councilor Sal LaMattina. Maria Lanza and Stephen Passacantilli from Mayor Walsh’ staff – and NEAD Board Members as well.. It was also great to have Phil Orlandella of the Regional Review and Matt & Isabella from Emerson College to be in attendance.

A huge thank you goes to NEAD Board members Karen D’Amico, George Hadaya, Officer Ted Boyle, Ann Fitzgerald, John Pregmon, Olivia Scimeca, Rosina Fabbo, Kathy Carangelo and volunteer Patricia Romano for all of their help with preparing the event ahead of time and setting up, serving the food and breaking down at the end of the event! Also thanks to Nazzaro Center Director & NEAD Board Member Carl Ameno for letting us use their space and take over the space early to set up – it is greatly appreciated.

NEAD also collected new adult winter hats and gloves for the St. Francis Homeless Shelter and Sharon Lee from St. Francis was in attendance as well.

This was a great event, the whole community showed up to show the children and their families that they are all very important and that we care for them, we showed the Mayor how much we support his efforts working with children and families as well as trying to help solve the drug and alcohol issues in the neighborhood, city and state. “It was a great event and a great turnout stated NEAD President John Romano, “we are grateful to all our local elected officials: Aaron, Sal & Joe who support us day in and day out and we are thankful to the Mayor for speaking to our young children and families.”

It was an awesome start to THANKSGIVING WEEK!

 

Photos by Phil Orlandella and Donna Wells.

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