Helping Families: Annual Eastie’s Elves Toy Drive Fundraiser to Switch Gears Due to COVID-19

Usually around this time a year, East Boston would be buzzing with holiday cheer. However, neighborhood tree lightings, holiday parties and community events have all fallen victim to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Organizers of one such yearly event that has become a mainstay in Eastie and something many residents look forward to each year announced this week they will be doing things a little differently due to COVID. 

Ariel Madaro, Director of the Madaro Family Community Fund and wife of Rep. Madaro with Milano’s Delicatessen owner Vinny Caraglia. Milano’s is one of 24 toy drop-off box sites for the annual Eastie’s Elves toy drive fundraiser. The drop-off sites will be available from now until December 15.

Rep. Adrian Madaro’s Madaro Family Community Fund announced that they have launched an Eastie’s Elves toy collection program which will directly support local families who are in need of holiday gifts. 

The toy collection drive will replace the annual Eastie’s Elves gala usually held at the Hyatt Boston Harbor Hotel. 

Last week, the non-profit organization placed toy drop-off boxes at twenty-four locations throughout East Boston, Revere, and Winthrop. The drop-off sites will be available from now until December 15. The locations and program details can be found on the Madaro Family Community Fund’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/madarofamilycommunityfund/. 

“We are very grateful to the businesses, organizations, and residential communities that have partnered with us as a drop-off location this year,” said Ariel Madaro, Director of the Madaro Family Community Fund and wife of Rep. Madaro. “Even during this challenging holiday season, they have offered to help us in uplifting hundreds of families within our community.”

As the largest toy drive in the neighborhood, the Madaro Family Community Fund was able to donate over 1,300 toys through Eastie’s Elves last year. Ariel Madaro said the Madaro Family Community Fund hopes to exceed this amount during a time when the need is greater than ever due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Rep. Madaro’s Family Community Fund took over the reigns of the annual holiday event from former Sen. Anthony Petruccelli after he left office in 2016. 

“Each year since the Madaro Family Community Fund took over the event, my family and I are truly overwhelmed by the generosity of the community,” said Rep. Madaro. “Hopefully, the community’s generosity exceeds its generosity from years past due to COVID. Throughout this pandemic this neighborhood has been a shining example of charity, compassion and care. Due to the economic downturn, job loss and food insecurities plaguing out neighbors we need everyone’s help more than ever to make the holiday season a bright one for thousands of families in need.”

The annual fundraiser to raise toys for low-income families in Eastie and other neighborhoods was started by Petruccelli when he served in the House and continued through his years in the Senate.  After being elected to office in 2015 Madaro’s Family Community Fund took over the annual event. 

Over the years Eastie’s Elves has collected thousands of toys that are later dropped off to agencies like the East Boston Social Centers, the YMCA, Crossroads Family Shelter, the Salesian Boys & Girls Club as well as agencies in Revere, Winthrop and the North End. 

“All the toys that are donated will still benefit the communities of East Boston, Revere, Winthrop and the North End,” said Rep. Madaro. 

If you have questions or would like to get involved with Madaro Family Community Fund, please contact the organization at [email protected] To stay up to date on Eastie’s Elves and future community events, follow the Madaro Family Community Fund on Facebook @madarofamilycommunityfund and on Instagram @madarofamilyfund. 

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