The moral of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” spoken by Ebenezer Scrooge near the end of the story is, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” Christmas doesn’t have sole proprietorship on the spirit of giving: other religions and groups and individuals guided by their own star also give into the urge to be generous at year’s end.
So to inspire an endurance to give (whether it be just to gift a smile on another’s face or something grander) feast your eyes on a bevy of holiday beneficence!
Grand Street Gives Back
This year the Grand Street BID decided on a food drive to engage their businesses and the community for the holidays. Participating businesses collected nonperishable food donations until December 15th, all to be donated to St. John the Evangelist Lutheran Church’s food pantry.
“We collected a total of 640 pounds of food, which contributed to over 500 meals and over 70 grocery bags that were distributed to local families,” said Homer Hill (Executive Director of the Grand Street BID). These three businesses were the top collectors: Laundry Taxi (290 pounds food collected, plus matched monetary donations), Empire Locksmith (168 pounds), and Fillmore Real Estate (92 pounds).
Graham Ave BID Santa Bus
One of North Brooklyn’s jolly holiday traditions is Santa’s visit to Graham Avenue. In the past he’s travelled Graham Avenue on a trolley, but in the last few years he’s taken the bus. The MTA provides a vintage bus, but will switch up to a more modern model in the case of snow. They wouldn’t want Santa to get stuck. Santa hands out candy and poses for pictures all in an effort to encourage the locals to shop local. Buying from neighborhood business gives back to the community anytime of the year.
94th Precinct Community Council’s Children’s Christmas Party
Broadway Stages personified the Santa spirit at this annual event in their role as sponsor. They provided catering and furnished most of the toys the kids could pick from. The 94th Precinct contributed some toys too. Broadway Stages invited Frosty and
Rudolph, and the 94th Precinct brought Santa. Assemblyman Joeseph Lentol, Gina Argento (President of Broadway Stages), Tony Argento (Founder of Broadway Stages), and the 94th Precinct’s Commanding Officer William Glynn and Captain Victoria Perry were also there.
350 toys were distributed and over 500 people came and enjoyed the delicious food which included: steak, chicken marsala, a risotto station, salmon, mac and cheese, and more! There were arts and crafts and Santa and snow globe photo stations.
Broadway Stages credits the help they received from their clients in the TV and Film industry for enabling them to sponsor this holiday party.
Nibbles, hot cocoa, and coffee supplied by Oslo Coffee were served amidst an ambiance of eclectic and pertinent local history to those awaiting an appearance of the celebrated jolly old elf. Santa approached the City Reliquary on foot via Metropolitan Avenue, and once inside the community museum kids of all ages couldn’t wait to tell Santa what was on their wish list. Santa was played with gusto by Joseph Franquinha of Crest Hardware. Later there was an indoor snow storm of snowflake making.
A Lesson in Giving
The 6th Annual Teacher Toy Drive once again turned Grand Street Campus students, teachers and school staff from Districts 14 and 32, and officers from the NYPD’s 90th precinct into Santa’s helpers. The students dressed as Christmas elves hand delivered around 500 toys via police vans to Cooper Park Houses, Williamsburg Houses, and Bushwick Houses, all New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments. Senator Martin Dilan , Assemblyman Joseph Lentol , Broadway Stages, Mario from Salerno’s Service Station, Carmine and Sons Pizzeria , Bamonte’s, Da Francesco, and Norwinds helped sponsor this year’s drive.
Capri Jet Realty brought Santa to their office at 533 Metropolitan as their holiday gift to the neighborhood. The jolly old elf brought gifts for the youngsters, sat for photos, and there were sweets to make everyone merry.
Saldo’s Seniors Christmas
Saldo Drugs (384 Graham Avenue) spread holiday cheer to 150 seniors at Jennings Hall and Metropolitan Houses for the seventeenth year. The seniors enjoyed Italian specialties from Carmine and Sons Pizzeria Restaurant (358 Graham Ave.). Along with sharing the healthy and hearty meal amongst friends, the seniors received the warm message that Saldo’s caring staff is there to offer their support any of the other 364 days a year.
El Puente and the Moore Street Market organized a Parranda (traditional Caribbean holiday caroling) to start at the Moore Street Market and sing and weave its way throughout the neighborhood. They welcomed people to join them as they went along. It was a heartwarming sight on a snowy day.
47th Crispus Attucks Annual Kwanzaa
Each year Kwanzaa comes early to St. John the Evangelist Lutheran Church on 195 Maujer for the purpose of teaching the traditions of this celebration to the community.
Sandra Bradford presided over this year’s event, which included singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, the invocation, and Nguzo Saba (candle lighting). Then everyone enjoyed the Kwanza Karamu (feast).
Pastor Waldvogel and an ensemble of singers and musicians from Williamsburg Pentecostal Church (674 Metropolitan Ave.) brought the joy of the season to seniors of Jennings Hall via singing Christmas carols. This beautiful Christmas program has been presented each year for two decades.
Funds Raised for Puerto Rico
Seeing how Puerto Rico is still in need of help after the devastation Hurricanes Maria and Irma caused, St. Nicks Alliance was inspired to raise money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico. They raised $4000, which was double their goal of $2000. A few days before Christmas, José Leon, Dep. Executive Director of St. Nicks Alliance, flew out to give the check to The Boys and Girls Club of Puerto Rico located in Isabela. 1,200 youth are served annually with afterschool, recreational, and educational activities at this location. The club in Isabela housed and fed 80 people who were left homeless after the category 5 storm.