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April 2024 Welcoming Neighbors Newsletter

April is Earth Month, and Earth Day is on the 22nd. We’ll be highlighting Earth Day and other community events in this newsletter, but first, a big thank you to our neighbors. We have more-than-successfully wrapped up our summer camp fundraiser. Due to your generosity, we exceeded our goal of $10,000 and raised over $11,000 to send kids to camp this summer. Thanks again!

Our next project is the diaper drive. In the past two years we have distributed thousands of diapers to parents in Newton and beyond. This year, with your support, we know we can do it again.

Diaper Drive and Distribution

One in three families struggles to afford diapers, making it even harder for them to buy food and other necessities. Help us support local families who need diapers! 

April 3 - May 4: Citywide Diaper Drive

Sizes Requested: Newborn — 7

Open boxes are welcome, but please put diapers in labeled plastic sleeves or bags.  

Please donate diapers at:

May 11, 7:30am–12:30pm: Free Diaper Pickup

Pick up free diapers for your family (no registration or ID required) at:

  • FamilyACCESS of Newton, 492 Waltham St, West Newton

  • American Legion Nonantum Post 440, 295 California St, Nonantum

Call for Volunteers: Food Pantry Delivery

We are looking for volunteers who can help deliver groceries from local food pantries to our neighbors who are unable to get to the pantries on their own.

Our schedule is:

  • Tuesdays from Centre Street Food Pantry. Pickup at 12 or 12:15 before the pantry opens to the public.

  • Wednesdays from Newton Food Pantry. Scheduled pickups between 12:15 - 2:45.

It usually takes about an hour of your time and makes a big difference to so many in our community! 

Sign up for April deliveries here:

Call for Volunteers: Freedge 

Every Thursday, Newton Neighbors coordinates donations to the Newton Community Freedge, Newton Food Pantry’s community refrigerator and pantry initiative. Volunteer opportunities throughout the day include picking up donations from business partners and bringing them to the Freedge, shopping for items, and cleaning and maintaining the Freedge. 

Located in the parking lot of Central Cleaners at 420 Watertown Street in Nonantum, the Freedge is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and offers free food and personal-care items to neighbors in need. Please sign up here to help on Thursdays.

Through April 5: Clothing Drive for Children

Day Middle School students have organized a clothing drive to collect children’s clothing for Cradles to Crayons, a partner organization of Newton Neighbors. The drive continues through April 5, with donation boxes at two drop-off locations:

  • West Suburban YMCA lobby, 276 Church Street

  • Temple Emanuel lobby, 385 Ward Street

Please donate gently used clothing for children sizes 0-20 and adult small/medium (in youth sizes).

April 6: Indigenous Peoples Day Newton Film Fundraiser

West Newton Cinema, 1296 Washington St., West Newton

Saturday, April 6, 2024, 4 - 6pm

A screening of the movie Beans will be followed by a panel discussion. All donations support Indigenous Peoples Day Newton's 4th Annual Indigenous Peoples Day Ceremonial Celebration.Directed by Mohawk-Canadian filmmaker Tracey Deer, Beans is a 2020 Canadian drama film inspired by true events. It chronicles the 78-day standoff between two Mohawk communities and government forces in 1990 Quebec through the eyes of Tekehentahkhwa (nicknamed “Beans”), a young Mohawk girl. Her perspective on life is radically changed by these events.

Trailer available here.

April 7: Holi Festival of Colors

Sunday, April 7, 12:00–4:00pm

Holi,the Indian festival of colors, took place on March 25. The New Art Center is hosting their Holi celebration on April 7. Welcome spring with art-making, performances, food, dancing, and music. The Grub Guru food truck will be available with food for purchase. The event concludes with outdoor color play where you become the canvas for artmaking! 

The event is free and open to the public. More info here.

Earth Month in Newton

April is Earth Month, a time to celebrate our planet and take action to protect it.

April 6: Climate Change Workshop

Saturday, April 6, 1 - 5pmFirst Unitarian Universalist Society in Newton (FUUSN)1326 Washington Street, West Newton

The FUUSN Climate Action Task Force is hosting a free climate change workshop, “Introduction to the Work That Reconnects.” It’s easy to see that the effects of climate change are causing greater and greater suffering and destruction.

This workshop explores an important framework that can enliven and empower us in this time of change. 

More information here.

April 21: Newton Celebrates Earth Day

Celebrate. Learn. Take Action.

Sunday, April 21, 12:00-4:00pm

Newton North High School, 457 Walnut Street

Bring your family and friends to Newton’s 3rd Annual Earth Day Festival! Enjoy live music and great food while learning about all the ways you can make a difference. There will be local businesses and nonprofits on site to help guide you, whether you’re looking to go solar, pick out an electric vehicle, insulate your home, start composting, and much more.

And there’s plenty of fun for the kids, including a petting zoo, face painting, nature themed activities, and an Earth Day celebration with Little Beats.

More info here.

Planet vs. Plastics

The theme of this year’s Earth Day is Planet vs. Plastics. We’d like to remind you that Newton’s Plastic ordinance is in effect. Restaurants will not automatically include forks, spoons, knives, or chopsticks with orders. If you need them, you must ask. If you are taking your order home or to the office, please use the utensils you have there.


As well as reducing plastic waste, you can reduce food waste in landfills by composting organic material. There are four places to drop off compost in Newton:

  • Resource Recovery Center, Rumford Avenue

  • Albemarle Road, north bound, just past the baseball diamond

  • War Memorial Circle, Newton City Hall, by the bike rack

  • Wheeler Road, directly across from Oak Hill Middle School (130 Wheeler Rd) next to two Helpsy bins

For more on composting and our dwindling landfills, see this article in The Newton Beacon.

You can also compost yard waste–collection began on March 25. More info here: 

No Mow May

And looking ahead to May: No Mow May encourages people to leave their lawn undisturbed during the month of May to help bees and other pollinators that lack abundant food sources this time of year. This is one way to help provide a habitat for wildlife, reduce your carbon footprint, save time and money, and connect with nature. 

April Neighbor to Neighbor Tips

Newton is in the process of redesigning our City Seal. You can weigh in on the city seal redesign at 

April 15: Boston Marathon Course map and information on road closures: Several community organizations are sponsoring Marathon runners, including Arabic Baptist Church Food Pantry and

April 13: Paper shredding and medication collection at the Resource Recovery Center, Rumford Avenue. Advanced sign-up required: call Customer Service at 617-796-1000 to schedule an appointment. Click here for the flyer.

Welcoming New Faces, New Roles at Newton Neighbors

Before we go, we’d like to welcome our new core team members and vice president. NN continues to grow! 

Four New Core Team Members

We are pleased to announce the addition of four new team members to the Newton Neighbors Core Team: Jane Frantz, Lakshmi Jayanthi, Akola Krishnan, and Radha Muthien.

  • Jane is a retired Newton teacher who worked in six schools throughout the city. She has been on the Open and Affirming Committee at the United Parish of Auburndale for ten years, and the PEC (Parent Educator Collaborative) for three years. She is excited to join Newton Neighbors and has enjoyed working on the Summer Camp Program as her project. Jane raised her three sons in Newton and loves spending time with her four grandsons.

  • Lakshmi….

  • Akola, a retired IT Director, cofounded the Bloomington IN arm of the national nonprofit First Book. She was a founding member of Malden Neighbors Helping Neighbors and served on the board of the Greater Malden Asian-American community coalition. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana, and has two daughters Ranjani (founding member of Newton Neighbors) and Meera. Akola looks forward to helping us with our donation and campaign-management system.

  • Radha works as a quality lead in the life sciences software industry and has lived in Newton for the past 10 years. She is the mother of a high schooler and middle schooler. She is also a certified BollyX dance workout instructor teaching the community and friends for various events. Radha loves to cook and volunteer for different initiatives at work and in the community. 

New Vice President

And finally, we are excited to announce that our very own Maria Soriano will be stepping into the role of Vice President of our organization. Maria has lived in Newton for 15 years and works in IT as a business analyst. She first got involved with NN as a food pantry delivery driver before becoming part of the core team. Her favorite part of being a team member is meeting and interacting with all the amazing volunteers and neighbors in our community.

We are grateful to Susan Vaughn, stepping down as VP, for all her excellent work in this role! Susan remains a valuable member of our core team. 


Thanks again, Neighbors! During this Earth Month and after, let’s do all we can to keep our planet green.

For those of you looking forward to the end of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr, we wish you a happy celebration on April 9 - 10. Eid Mubarak! 


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