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.

Piccoli Regali sets up at Clough House on winter Saturdays
Piccoli Regali sets up at Clough House on winter Saturdays

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.

Founder Jim Ring and a volunteer at the Clough House where the food bags are prepared.
Founder Jim Ring and a volunteer at the Clough House where the food bags are prepared.

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.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Just wondering: the North End is a small, expensive, residential and commercial neighborhood. How can there possibly be 500 low-income elderly people living here? How can they afford to rent or own here?

  2. Heather.

    Look beyond the facade. There are many North Enders, including seniors, families, those unemployed, and others, who have problems making ends meet and are hurting financially, and who have and will benefit from programs such as the one at Old North Church.I ‘m told that many who should take advantage of this program (and others) are too proud or embarrassed to do so.

    There are three senior/disabled, low-income housing apartment buildings located in the North End: The Ausonia Apartments, Casa Maria Apartments, and Michelangelo Apartments. Additionally, Christopher Columbus Plaza has a number of apartments ear-marked for low income seniors and disabled. There are also those who get Section 8 vouchers.The North End has many who rely only on Social Security benefits.

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