Piccoli Regali (Little Gifts) completed its winter program having served over 300 weekend food bags to more than 500 clients, mostly low-income elderly living in the North End. The program operates on Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM in Clough House at the rear of Old North Church from December through the end of April.
Jim Ring, founder of the group said they have learned “the social communication is just as important to our friends as the bag of food. The conversation that goes back and forth is just great.”
The program has approximately 23 volunteers, from both the Old North Church parish and the neighborhood, serving on 4 teams, with each team providing service one week of the month. Clients come and generally share a cup of tea, a cookie, and conversation about their lives. Team members may be the only person with whom a client can share a piece of family news, talk about a doctor’s report, or share their concerns about daily life.
The volunteers shop locally where they receive discounts from Boschetto’s Bakery on Salem St., Alba Produce on Parmenter St. and Harry’s Cheese in Haymarket. They fill in the basics from BJ’s Wholesale Club. Items are complimented by weekly food donations left by parish members in a designated church pew.
The program is expected to start up again next winter.