The 11th Annual Eastie’s Elves fundraiser, a yearly tradition that draws more than 500 people to the Christmas toy drive, will kick off Friday, December 5 at the Hyatt Boston Harbor at 7 p.m. The price of admission is one unwrapped toy that will be donated to a local non-profit.
The annual fundraiser to raise toys for low-income families in Eastie and other neighborhoods was started by Senator Anthony Petruccelli when he served in the House.
Like years past the singing of Christmas Carols by the East Boston Central Catholic Choir, a holiday meal of carved turkey with all the trimmings, music provided by DJ Damien Margardo and the satisfaction of knowing you are helping hundreds of Eastie families this holiday is a treat for all the guests that attend.
Each year the annual event has grown by leaps and bounds. This year it will reach more children and families. Because the event began when Petruccelli represented only Eastie as the neighborhood’s state representative, only Eastie non-profits like the East Boston Social Centers and YMCA benefited. Now that Petruccelli is a state senator the event benefits children and families throughout his district, which includes Eastie, Revere, Winthrop, the North End and parts of Cambridge.
“We are very excited about our 11th annual Eastie’s Elves,” said Petruccelli’s sister Diana DeLeo who chairs the annual event. “Every year we are getting more and more requests for toys from families in need. We started out giving primarily to two agencies within East Boston and now the event has grown significantly where we are donating toys to multiple agencies in Winthrop, East Boston, and Revere, as well as individual families that are reaching out to us in need of assistance.”
DeLeo said for her this event has always had two major objectives.
“One is the obvious objective – to gather as many toys as we possibly can for families and children that are in need during the holiday season,” she said. “The second is to bring together our community to celebrate the holiday season with one another – putting aside our busy schedules to come together to reconnect while helping families that have maybe had a tough year.”
Petruccelli added that each year he’s more surprised at the quality of gifts that people bring.
“The event has build itself on its reputation and the fact it’s a good cause,” said Petruccelli. “Each year more and more residents attend and open up their hearts to kids many have never met. It’s not just a bunch of crayons and coloring books,” explained Petruccelli. “When you look at the gifts people bring you can tell they’ve put a lot of thought and effort into buying these gifts.”
Years past, items like bicycles, toy trucks, remote control cars and plenty of clothing item shows the generosity of Eastie residents as the holidays begin.
Petruccelli said each year it is almost as if attendees try to out do one another by competing over who can bring the best gift.
“People really get into the holiday spirit for this event and the kids really benefit from the generosity,” he said.
In Eastie, toys will be donated to kids attending the Social Centers daycare and after school programs, the YMCA, Crossroads and APAC.