The ABCD North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center (NE/WE NSC) held its annual December holiday party on Friday, December 14th. Over 60 members of the community, nearly all of them seniors from the neighborhoods, came to the center at 1 Michelangelo Street in the North End for a feast of ham with all the trimmings, topped off by a typical Italian panettone. The cheery Christmas tree in the corner, exploding with colorful decorations in silver, gold, red, blue, and green, was rivaled only by the festive holiday decorations draped over anything that could sit still, and the drop-in center was cozy and warm.

“Our seniors are family,” enthused Maria Stella Gulla, NE/WE NSC Director. “I recall the North End, where I grew up, as a child, and we try to recreate that here. Clients are drawn here because the food is homemade, hearty, and delicious, and they are on a first-name basis with me and my staff. It is an enjoyable part of drop-in life at the center. In many cultures, especially the Italian, holidays are a reminder that central to food is the element of family. Many of our seniors were the matriarch and chef of the family – they often stop to share a recipe, food memory, or suggestion on how they would have prepared the pasta for lunch! This is central to their sense of identity. Why give that up?”

ABCD NE WE NSC Staff behind the scenes in the kitchen (Josh Young Director, Field Operations & Legislative Affairs, Center).
(L-R) Josh Young Director, Field Operations & Legislative Affairs; Johannah Malone, Fundraising Specialist; Senator Sal DiDomenico; Maria Stella Gulla, ABCD NE WE NSC Director.

Senator Sal DiDomenico brought dozens of toys for the children in the neighborhoods, and visited with seniors, including two tables of West End constituents from the Amy Lowell Apartments and Blackstone Apartments. This is made possible by a grant from Title 3B from the Commission on Elder Affairs, and operated by Kit Clark of Bay Cove Human Services. Along with holiday wishes, Legislative Aide Michael Bonetti passed out candy canes in lavish stripes of red, green, and pink, on behalf of City Councilor Lydia Edwards, who extended her regrets that she could not attend personally.

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Other special guests included Advisory Board member Dan Wilson and volunteer David Roderick, who assisted with serving the meal, clean up, and visiting with seniors. Advisory Board Member Victor Brogna delighted the NE/WE NSC with his trumpet playing.

Volunteers Messaoud Khaled and David Roderick serving seniors.

Without the many friends of the NE/WE NSC, the holiday party would not have been possible. The NE/WE NSC extends its deepest thanks to you, enabling the center to provide a day of cheer, socialization, and warmth for neighborhood seniors. Happy Holidays and wishing you all health, happiness, peace, and joy in 2019!

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