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  • Writer's pictureNewton Neighbors

MLK Day of Service Recap!

Most years, on the annual Day of Service honoring the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., we gather with our friends and neighbors to participate in community events. In the spirit of supporting others, we wanted to virtually highlight ways in which you can contribute to the many organizations in our community. Thank you to the 17 Newton-area organizations that shared how you can support their work with your time or resources. You can explore these below.

Service and Service Providers:

Service Stars

Hi Newton Neighbors! Thank you to this group for inviting us to post. Service Stars is a non-profit organization run by teachers that provides educational (and fun!) service-learning opportunities for kids. We run a summer camp and vacation week programs focused on exposing children to needs in their community and teaching them how they can make a difference.

How you can help -

We would love for you to spread the word about our programs to anyone with kids in Newton and neighboring communities and encourage them to consider signing up for our camp! Our site is and we will be opening up 2021 summer camp registration soon.

You can also help by donating. Donations are put toward project supplies (ie toys to assemble into gift boxes for children in the hospital) and have double impact - first they are in the hands of children who are learning about the cause, and then they are donated to the organization. Donations toward our projects also help us keep camp costs down making it accessible to families with many socioeconomic backgrounds. You can donate on our website:

Finally, we offer internships for high school and college students who are looking for an opportunity to work with kids and help their community. We’d love for you to spread the word about this opportunity as well! Anyone interested can email us at

Cradles to Crayons

Hello Newton Neighbors! Thank you for welcoming us here on #MLKDay to share some ways you can support the work we do at Cradles to Crayons!

About Cradles to Crayons: Founded in 2002, the mission of Cradles to Crayons is to provide children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play. We supply these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities. Our vision is one day every child will have the essentials they need to feel safe, warm, ready to learn, and valued. Since our beginning, we've been grateful to partner with many families and businesses throughout Newton through volunteerism, community events, and other support.

How can you support Cradles to Crayons? Volunteers are critical to our work, both in our Newton warehouse, The Giving Factory, and through our Giving Factory at Home opportunities. To volunteer in-person at our warehouse please visit and to learn more about Giving Factory At Home's service activities, please visit

Cradles to Crayons relies on the generosity of our friends and supporters to donate both new and gently used children's items as well as financial contributions. Together we are helping thousands of children throughout Massachusetts receive the essential items they need throughout the year, from winter clothing to school supplies. To donate product please visit and to make a donation please visit​ Thank you!

Community Day Center of Waltham

The Community Day Center of Waltham provides day shelter and support services to adults who are experiencing homelessness. They strive to create a safe, judgement-free culture that is grounded in hospitality, compassion and mutual respect.

I have been a volunteer for the past two years now. I have focused my energy on gathering items such as coats, boots and jeans for our unhoused neighbors. With the help of the community, they have all the clothing they need at the moment. You will see me, however, sometimes making a special request for a specific item or size. I love how responsive Waltham and Newton have been in helping me obtain the requested items. If you wish to help this organization you may make a financial donation through their webpage. Or, perhaps the next time I post a need you will be able to assist! Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this worthy organization.

Centre Street Food Pantry

Hello to this incredible community, and thank you Admins, for the invitation to post about our organization. We are Centre Street Food Pantry, located in the heart of Newton Centre. Our Food Pantry welcomes and serves Newton residents, alongside 7 of our neighboring communities. For the past 10 years, our mission has been to provide our neighbors with consistent access to nutritious food, in a kind and dignified environment.

Just last year, we distributed 35,000 pre-packed bags of food totaling 550,000 pounds, throughout 8,000 unique visits. All of this was possible thanks to our incredible community!! If you're looking for ways to help our organization, please consider the following:

1. Support our Kids Club Program by pre-packing bags with kid-friendly foods

2. Volunteer (this winter, due to COVID, only off-site opportunities are available to new volunteers)

3. Follow us on social media

4. Donate

Newton Food Pantry

To recognize and honor Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. day, please consider supporting the Newton Food Pantry ( The Newton Food Pantry aims to alleviate food insecurity in Newton by providing supplemental food and personal care products to community members in need, serving our clients with dignity, compassion and respect.

Please check out some ways that you can get involved to honor MLK’s legacy:

· We currently are in need of new volunteers with linguistic skills, BIPOC volunteers, and volunteers from diverse backgrounds. Learn more here:

· From a financial donation to making cards, check out our Ways to Help page ( for the many other opportunities to get involved.

· And finally, learn more about the The Newton Community Fridge Collaborative (NCFC), an outdoor community refrigerator and pantry launching this March. This is a volunteer-led initiative, based on the operating principle of “take what you need, leave what you can”, organized by the Newton Food Pantry in collaboration with other local organizations. Contact Sindy Wayne, NCFC Volunteer Coordinator at for more info or to get involved.

The oldest and largest all-volunteer food pantry in Newton, the Newton Food Pantry has been independently run exclusively by volunteers since 1983.

Newton Senior Center

The Newton Department of Senior Services has been providing programs, services, and volunteer opportunities to Newton’s older residents, and those who support them, for many decades.

In this current pandemic, volunteers are needed by the Newton Senior Center to assist with food deliveries, grocery shopping, participant outreach calls, Friendly Visiting (one on one – by phone for now), scheduling tax appointments, teaching Seniors to use Zoom and much more. Some jobs can be done virtually, and some are at the Senior Center with social distancing. If you’d like more information, contact Julie Joy at or call 617 796-1674 and leave a message.

See our website at

Jewish Family and Children's Service

Want to give back, from your home, on MLK Day to Holocaust Survivors in the area? You and your family can make Thinking of You Caring Cards for isolated older adults of JF&CS most of whom are Holocaust Survivors. We have been sending cards to survivors on a monthly basis and would LOVE your help!! Please click on the link (or copy and paste into your browser) to learn more about Caring Cards or reach out to me directly at: Newton and Waltham drop-offs are available.

Welcome Home

In honor of MLK Day of Service, we'd be grateful if you would consider donating like-new home goods to Welcome Home, a home goods pantry in Newton Centre. At Welcome Home, we take in gently used kitchen, bedding, and bathroom items, and provide them to those who can use them. No goods to donate? Consider joining the team and signing up for working shift. Come once a month, weekly, or many times a week, to pack home goods for our clients who pick them up curbside. We'd love to have you!

Community Building and Education:

Newton Community Pride

Newton Community Pride is a non-profit whose mission is to build community and volunteerism through year round arts, cultural, and beautification programs for all. Over the past 30 years, we have helped support an array of community programs for the city of Newton including NewtonSERVES, Linda Plaut Newton Festival of the Arts, 4th of July Fireworks, beautification of our city gardens and restaurant patios, concerts, drive-in movies, halloween windows, and public art. For more information and to volunteer, please visit

Newton Coalition of Black Residents

We are a group of Black residents whose mission is to harness our collective strength to advance policies and political actions that directly support Black residents in our city’s government, schools, and community. We are uniting to create a network for the primary purpose of advocacy, information sharing and connectionin Newton. The NCBR promises to marshal the perspective of all Black residents in Newton irrespective of profession, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or education levels.

The group was established July 2020, about two years after a small working group of Black parents came together to address issues of racial discrimination in the Newton Public Schools and later, in the Newton Police Department. The working group wanted to expand the group to more Black residents to ensure all voices were represented in the community.In this city where the only two Black elected officials are members of the School Committee, there is a decided lack of representation in city government (elected or appointed) that we want to change.If you're a Black Newton resident and interested in joining our group, please head over to our FB group and respond to the short questionnaire. We invite all Black residents of Newton to join our monthly meetings and fellowship, where we discuss and share information about the community and provide a safe space for Black residents to learn about how we can make an impact in Newton. Other organizations can support our group by:

  • Keeping us informed about how you are working towards greater social and racial justice in your group, so that we can share the information with NCBR affiliates, and as appropriate support your efforts.

  • Help us spread the word that NCBR is a resource that black residents can rely on for connection and shared experience. Whether you are new to Newton or have lived here for years, there is incredible value in feeling the warmth of connection with others who look like you.

Story Starters

Story Starters supports parents in having age-appropriate conversations about race and racism with their young kids ages 3-8 years old. Throughout our 12-week program, we use children’s literature to give families research-based tools and skills to build conversational habits that preempt racial implicit bias. Our families develop active family identities around racial equity and community change.

If you are interested in learning more about our program visit our website:

Want to make an impact in the next generation of kids? Support Story Starters today!

The Vault

It was a great honor to be involved in the Newton's 53rd Annual MLK Day Commemoration event!

Here's how I commit to Keep Moving Forward...

I am investing my time and energy to builid a multi-use space to fulfill the needs of our community by offering a place that supports inclusivity and creativity. The Vault will provide our community three ways to connect: a Black Box Theatre, Made New Cafe + Shoppe (a pay-what-you-can cafe) and CityKids PlayPlace for children with special needs.

On Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 4pm, we will launch our NewCommunity, Inc project: THE VAULT.

Join @Regina Wu, Board President of Newton Food Pantry and an Internist, Melissa Salz Bernstein, Director of Newton Theatre Compan, Howard Haywood , Executive Chef and @Alexandrina Tranvia, Hospitality and Event Management, Program Chair at Lasell University to build a hub of hope for our community!

"We can't do it alone, we need a village. If we each pick up a brick, we can help support, build and unlock The Vault's potential for our community together -- one brick at a time."

West Suburban YMCA

For this year's MLK Day of Service, the Y is partnering with Newton at Home to assemble care packages for seniors in the community who may feel isolated due to the pandemic. The packages will include a succulent plant, puzzle books with a pencil, eraser, and sharpener, and handmade cards.

You can help by sponsoring a care package or by creating a handmade card or bookmark!

Our goal is to fund 160 care packages, and we're 63% of the way there!! Help us reach our goal!

More info:

Boys and Girls Club

Please consider donating to the John M Barry Boys & Girls Club in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Especially during the pandemic, it’s critical that we look after all kids, regardless of ability to pay.

Our mission is to inspire and enable young people. We believe young people deserve access to high quality after-school programming regardless of family background, make-up, or income level. We raise hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to keep fees low to even the playing field for all. ​We are proud of the diversity that exists among our Club members - be it economic, racial, ethnicity, and religious. We serve kids of all income levels and family types and our system gives every kid equal opportunities for growth and enrichment.

Green and Environment:

Green Newton

If you are considering community service that will benefit our environment, you'll want to know about Green Newton, an environmental nonprofit that is helping residents to make Newton's Climate Action Plan a reality by improving energy efficiency in our homes and in our transportation options. Students are engaged in our Environmental Youth Leadership Program, while residents of all ages work with us to increase recycling, bike and pedestrian safety, and safer alternatives to toxins. To learn more about our advocacy on environmental issues and steps you can take for energy efficiency at home visit where you can sign up for our e-news bulletin and 'Take Action!' Please contact if you'd like to volunteer.

Newton Conservators

Newton Conservators works to preserve and maintain Newton’s open spaces. Founded in 1961, it works on behalf of users of the city’s parks and conservation lands, the plants and animals that will have a better chance of surviving because those open spaces exist—and our children and grandchildren who will benefit from that land’s ability to help fight the increasing loss of birds and pollinators and to combat climate change.

Newton Conservators was instrumental in preserving the Newton Community Farm, Auburndale Cove, Webster Woods, land adjacent to Dolan Pond, and more. We’re now helping to support the development of the Riverside Trails, which give people access to the land along the Charles River and will connect to other trails in the region.

How You Can Help

Most years, we ask volunteers to join us in removing invasive plants from public areas in the city. Because of Covid, we are not doing that this spring (and are not doing our popular in-person walk series). For now, we invite you to learn about invasive plants on the new section of our website ( and to remove them where you find them on your own property or, with permission, that of neighbors. It’s a great project for kids or adults.

We always need more help with at-home work such as membership, educational outreach, and advocacy. Every year, the organization needs volunteers to help to visit and to monitor the city-owned properties on which it holds a conservation restriction, such as the Newton Commonwealth Golf Course, the Waban Hill Reservoir, and 30 Rogers Street on Crystal Lake. If you have an interest in those activities, please contact us at

Membership Support

Newton Conservators’ work is funded by membership fees and donations. (The Conservators is an all-volunteer organization with no paid employees.) Having a large membership also helps to give us a larger voice in our advocacy work. Please join:

Even if you don’t become a member, you can subscribe to our ebulletin ( and follow us on Facebook (Newton Conservators), Instagram (newtonconservators), and Twitter (@ntnconservators).

We wish you a good Martin Luther King Jr. Day and hope to see you in person soon—maybe this fall.

Keep Newton Beautiful

Keep Newton Beautiful, a local chapter of Keep Massachusetts Beautiful (, is a volunteer group dedicated to making our community a clean, green, litter-free place to live, work, and play. We organize group litter cleanups, as well as share our individual efforts in our Facebook group: I started the group in May 2020, being frustrated and saddened by the amount of trash everywhere in Newton, and by the lack of action from the city government and from state agencies (DOT, DCR, MBTA) responsible for some roads and properties in Newton. Please see the group description in the "About" tab for more details.

Weather permitting, I am hoping to go out there an pick up some trash on Monday. Given the raging pandemic, I will probably not be organizing any large events in the near future, but it would be great if people join the group and post photos of their own cleanups. It can be as little as a trash bag filled up while you take a walk in the neighborhood. So far only a few members have posted - it would be great to have additional regular contributors!

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