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  • Writer's pictureNewton Neighbors

Helping Neighbors Newsletter, June 15th, 2023

It’s June! The days are longer, the weather is warmer, sidewalks are filled with excited children anticipating the end of the school year, and Crystal Lake is open. Our Newton Neighbors team is sailing into summer on a high note on the heels of a successful–and beautiful–gardening project and a summer camp initiative that will help send many children to camp. We’re looking forward to our upcoming school supply drive. It has been a busy and fulfilling first half of the year, and there is more to come!

Summer is also a great time for you, and the young people in your life, to get more involved in your community! And who better to tell you why, than an inspiring young person who has volunteered for the Newton Neighbors diaper drive for two years. Her community is a priority for Kenzie!


Kenzie’s Story

I have enjoyed volunteering for the Newton Neighbors Diaper Drive for many reasons. First, I love doing it. I love seeing little kids’ faces light up when they play with chalk or with bubbles. I love helping parents get diapers, because I know this project is making a big difference in their lives. I love the thank-you’s and the warm smiles of everyone this brings together. I love seeing people joyful.


If you are interested in volunteering, there are also personal values to this project! You learn social interactions when you ask for diaper requests. You learn data collecting when you record how many of each diaper size there are, and how many people have taken. You learn time management when you plan for helping out. You also learn organizational skills when you help more than one family at a time.


There are so many reasons I have for helping out here, but the last I will share with you now is that this not only benefits you, but also your community. It is important to be aware of what happens in your community, and also to help out! You are helping so many people, so they feel nice, but you’ll find that it feels good to you, too. I strongly recommend volunteering for the Newton Neighbors Diaper Drive!


Kenzie, you inspire us! If, like Kenzie, you are looking for ways to find and build community, check out the many opportunities below! There are many great opportunities for young children to take part in with their families, and older kids to do on their own.

Coming Soon! School Supply Drive

Newton Neighbors will be launching our school supply drive in July. Keep an eye out for a call for backpacks, lunch boxes, water bottles, graphing calculators, and other school essentials.


Bike Drive

With our friends at the Franklin Elementary School PTO and the Prospect Hill Community Foundation, we are collecting hand-me-down and donation bikes for the Prospect Hill Terrace Public Housing Community. As summer is approaching, the families there could use your hand-me-down bikes. Last time we did this bike drive, we were able to collect and repair almost 20 bikes for the kids and families in this amazing, loving, and diverse community.


As long as the bike works, the kids will make it work, even if it’s a bit too small or a bit too big.

We are looking for the following bike sizes in particular:


Children's bikes:

24" wheel, straight top tube - 8 bikes

24" wheel, slanted top tube - 1 bike

20" wheel, straight top tube - 2 bikes

18" wheel - 2 bikes, one with training wheels

Balance bikes - 2 bikes


Adult bikes:

1 bike to fit a 5'10" rider

1 bike to fit a 5'4" rider


Please contact graham@newtonneighbors.org to arrange drop-off.



Food Delivery to Neighbors: Recruiting Drivers for July

We still need drivers during the last week of June!

We are actively recruiting drivers for all shifts for our grocery delivery program from local food pantries to neighbors who can’t get to the pantries on their own. Here’s the schedule:

  • Tuesdays from Centre Street Food Pantry (Newton Centre). Pickup at either 12 or 12:15.

  • Wednesdays from Newton Food Pantry (City Hall). Scheduled pickup times between 12:15 - 2:45.

  • The third Friday of the month from Post 440 Mobile Food Bank. Pickup between 9 - 9:15 am.

It takes about an hour of your day to make these deliveries.

Sign up here for June: https://volunteersignup.org/FL98E

Sign up here for July: https://volunteersignup.org/PRR8W

Freedge

Newton Neighbors continues to stock the Newton Community Freedge every Thursday. Please help our neighbors by picking up a few extra items when you go shopping for groceries. Drop them off anytime at the Freedge at 420 Watertown Street, or at 174 Oliver Road in Waban. Some of the most needed items are milk, eggs, yogurt, butter, flour, cereal, soap, cooking oil, pasta, and mac and cheese. We need volunteers to help maintain the Freedge! If you have some time to give on Thursdays, please sign up here to help.

Bulk Food Delivery

NN’s bulk food delivery program is looking for short- and long-term volunteers to join us in delivering fresh produce from local food rescue organizations to MetroWest and South Area food pantries. Help bridge that last link in the distribution chain and provide good food to so many who need it. Commitments range from once in a while to once every 4-6 weeks, or even more. Please reach out to us at newtonneighborshelping@gmail.com to volunteer or find out more.

Juneteenth!

Newton Juneteenth Celebration Monday, June 19, 12 - 4pm Hyde Playground, 90 Lincoln Street, Newton Highlands

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Americans. This event supports local Black-owned businesses and showcases the variety of ways our community promotes equity and inclusion.

There will be kids’ activities and a DJ. Bring a picnic or buy food from the vendors to make this a fun family day out. For a full listing of events, including the history of Black Newton, student performances, and a Firestarta dance party, click here. The Juneteenth Celebration is brought to you by Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ).

Hope to see you at Juneteenth or at one of the many other summer celebrations in Newton. Keep checking our Facebook page for local activities and volunteer opportunities!

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