Tag Archives: holiday gifts

By Ron O’Clair … The South Worcester Neighborhood Center holiday extravaganza!


The handcrafted-with-love hats, scarves and mittens for distribution. 


Yari, 22, and her 1-year-old son, Jeyziel, preparing to leave with their gifts. 


SWNC Executive Director Ronald Charette and one of his volunteers, with just some of the many Christmas  gifts visible in the background.


Families selecting gifts with help from the volunteers.


Jessica from Shalom Multi-Cultural on Beacon Street. She’s one of the volunteers wrapping a gift!

Story and photos by Ron O’ Clair

The South Worcester Neighborhood Center located at 47 Camp Street put on its Christmas Gift Giveaway on Tuesday, the 23rd of December, 2014.

As I pulled up on Camp Street, the first thing I noticed was that it was not as I anticipated, after having covered the Friendly House Gift Giveaway this past Sunday. There were not mobs of people, and I did not have to park far away. I thought I had the wrong date and time for the event.

As it turned out, Mr. Ronald Charette, the executive director of the neighborhood center, had prevented that from happening by staggering the times that needy families were to come to get their gifts. Only four families were allowed inside at any one time, and when I got there, there were no lines waiting to get in.

Inside, the volunteers all wore Santa Hats, and helped the families choose what gifts to take.

There were lots and lots of brand new quality gifts for boys and girls of all ages that were generously donated to the neighborhood center by many donors, among them: Toys for Tots, Hadwen Park Church, Saint Matthew’s Church, Family to Family, Welch’s Corporation, DCU Credit Union, Sacred Heart Church, Alden Research Library, and many private citizens from the South Worcester Neighborhood area who gave generously so that others might have a wonderful Christmas.

In fact, there was an entire table loaded up with scarves, hats and gloves that were knitted throughout the year by the residents of 39 Coes Pond, at Coes Pond Village Apartments by a group Ron called “The Knitting Angels.” I would like to thank these people for taking the time to hand knit these items for needy girls and boys to be warm with this winter.

Gifts like these come directly from the heart, and I can well remember getting these items as a boy from my own sister Dorothy who did not have much money for gifts, but always made sure that we kept our heads, necks and hands warm during the freezing cold by knitting us these items just like the wonderful “Knitting Angels” of Coes Pond Village did here.


There were 1,009 children registered for the SWNC holiday gift giveaway at the time I spoke with Ron Charette when I took the photographs for InCity Times. These children were predominantly from the Main South, and Green Island neighborhoods.

Hopefully, there were not many who double dipped at the Christmas  trough by attending both the Friendly House event, as well as this one. There are, of course, always the greedy amongst the needy and those who deprive some  little girl or boy from getting a gift. I sincerely hope there were not many of these folks so that the maximum number of needy children could benefit from the generosity of the many benefactors who make this holiday event possible.

Merry Christmas 2014 to all, and to all a good night!

Ron O’Clair Patriot of the Press.

Want a great last-minute holiday gift for your pup? Passionate about animals …

… and want to support a great non-profit that advocates for them year-round, world-wide?  Then BUY SOME GREAT ANIMAL GEAR AND PEOPLE STUFF from the PETA CATALOG! Food, treats, cook books, tee shirts, leads, collars, toys, DVDs, cards, fleece outer-wear, pins, totes, water bottles, and a TON of other cool animal-themed gifts … they’re all here! The proceeds go towards helping animals all over the world!

Here’s a cool gift idea:


My Jett looks fat and happy here but, unlike my previous pooch, he is TERRIFIED of thunder: I swear he can feel it! Shakes and shudders through the entire storm. I have to light candles and get him up on my bed so he feels safer! A good Christmas gift for my boy might be …



Soothe dogs’ anxiety about fireworks, thunderstorms, and practically everything else with the original Thundershirt. The gentle, consistent pressure around the dog’s chest and torso helps him or her feel more secure in stressful situations, whether it’s being home alone, going to the vet, or surviving another Independence Day. Each heather-grey wrap is machine-washable and built to last the dog’s lifetime. The Thundershirt comes in sizes X-Small through X-Large. 

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  • Easy to put on and take off
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  • Ideal for fear and anxiety from thunder, fireworks, separation anxiety, and travel
  • Provides relief from general anxiety and reduces problem barking, jumping, and other unwanted nervous behavior
  • Machine washable for easy cleaning

Available in X-Small (8–14 lb.), Small (15–25 lb.), Medium (16–40 lb.), Large (41–64 lb.), and X-Large (65–110 lb.)

CLICK HERE to view and order the Thundershirt and a bazillion other cool, animal-centric gifts from the PETA catalog!

Support this cutting-edge non-profit  that works WORLD-WIDE  for the well being of elephants, cats, horses, pit bulls, cows, orcas … even teeny little mice!

And … Don’t forget to visit PETA.ORG on this website for PETA’s great vegetarian recipes, animal news stories, kids fun packets, etc …

– Rosalie Tirella

Why I won’t wear wool this winter

By Paula Moore

I’ve been an animal rights advocate for more than two decades, and during that time I’ve come to believe that the animals killed in the name of fashion are some of the most abused beings on the planet. Foxes on fur farms spend their whole lives pacing the wire floor of a tiny cage, slowly losing their minds from the extreme confinement and deprivation. On angora rabbit farms, workers violently rip the fur out of rabbits’ skin as the animals scream in pain. Snakes are nailed to trees and skinned alive in the belief that live flaying keeps their skin supple.

But recent footage released by PETA highlighting cruelty documented at 19 wool sheds in Australia—the world’s leading exporter of wool—and on 14 ranches in the U.S. has shocked even many veteran PETA staffers. Shearing sheep for their wool is a violent process that leaves these gentle animals battered and bloodied. I urge everyone reading this to watch the videos on PETA’s website—and then trade in your wool sweaters and jackets for animal-friendly options.

In the wool industry, time is money, and since most shearers are paid by volume, not by the hour, they have an incentive to work as quickly as they can, with little regard for the sheep’s welfare. One worker can shear up to 27 sheep—or 35 lambs—every single hour.

PETA’s investigators in Australia documented that shearers punched the struggling sheep, poked them in the eyes and routinely jabbed them in the face with sharp clippers, leaving them bleeding. In the investigative footage, one sheep’s face can be seen with blood soaking the wool all around it.

Workers stomp on sheep and stand on their heads and necks. They grab and drag sheep by their legs and slam them against the hard floor of the shearing shed. The ordeal doesn’t end until the sheep are completely shorn—and many of the animals are literally thrown down chutes into holding pens.

Terrified lambs, taken from their loving mothers, cry out before and during their first shearing. “They’ve been separated from their mums and they’re calling for them,” one worker explained. “They’re going, ‘Mom! Mom!'”

Because the shearers work so quickly, most sheep are cut—some severely—on their abdomen, hindquarters and limbs. When this happens, workers use a needle and thread to try to sew shut the most gaping wounds—without painkillers and in the same unsterile environment in which the sheep were shorn. Many sheep also have swaths of skin cut or pulled off during shearing. One worker even cut off three sheep’s tails with clippers.

The investigators never saw anyone reprimanded for their callous treatment of the sheep—or any veterinary care administered to them. Instead, injured sheep were shot in full view of their companions. One was butchered, and the body was left where other sheep could see it.

PETA’s investigator in the U.S. documented similar abuses. One shearer repeatedly twisted and bent a sheep’s neck, breaking it. At another ranch, workers hauled a critically ill ram—struggling to breathe—into a trailer to be sheared. The ram was left in the trailer overnight and was found dead the next morning.

Most people would agree that electrocuting foxes for their fur or ripping the skin off live snakes and leaving them to writhe in agony is wrong. The pain and fear endured by sheep in the wool industry are just as real as the suffering of other animals used and abused for their skins.

PETA’s videos are hard to watch. If you care about animals at all, they will upset you. But these animals don’t need our tears. They need our action. When you see the word “wool” on a coat label, please remember the sheep who were beaten bloody and dragged along the floor by their hind legs. And leave that item on the rack.

The holidays are sneakin’ up on us! I just ask for one Christmas gift every year …

… a boat-load of MUSIC!

Hoping you do the same! Some ideas for ya …

For the past few years, around this time, I post my fave female artists and their songs/albums on the InCity Times website, hoping you’ll take the hint and BUY THE SONGS/ALBUMS BY THESE GROUNDBREAKING AMERICAN ARTISTS for the girls in your life! They make great holiday gifts! Life-changing gifts! … So, here we go! Some of these suggestions might have run before, but that’s OK … these women and their points of view NEED to be heard anew by our nieces, daughters, goddaughters, etc. Keep these songs alive!

Let’s start off with the real poet! Play it fuckin’ LOUD!!!! – R. Tirella

Coming on Christmas …

Hate the materialism of it all.

Wanna do some good and feel good this holiday season? Check out our United Way of Central Massachusetts agency wish list in this issue of InCity Times. Great Worcester County agencies who help people all year ’round need donations for the holiday season. Gifts for kids’ parties, food for seniors. Check it out.

If you are thinking globally, read this great op/ed piece from The New York Times: 

Nicholas D. KristofDamon Winter/The New York Times Nicholas D. Kristof
Gifts that Change Lives
Looking for an unusual holiday gift? How about a $60 trio of rabbits to a family in Haiti in the name of someone special? Bunnies raise a farming family’s income because they, well, reproduce like rabbits – six litters a year! Heifer International arranges the gift on its Web site (heifer.org).

Or for $52 you can buy your uncle something more meaningful than a necktie: send an Afghan girl to school for a year in his name, through the International Rescue Committee (rescue.org).

Yes, it’s time for my annual holiday-giving guide. The question I most often get from readers is “what can I do?” This column is an answer. As in past years, I’m highlighting small organizations because you’re less likely to know about them.

Shining Hope for Communities (shininghopeforcommunities.org) was started by Kennedy Odede, a slum-dweller in Nairobi, Kenya, who taught himself to read. A visiting American gave him a book on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and it inspired Odede to organize local residents to fight against social injustice – particularly sexual violence, because his 16-year-old sister had just been raped.

Odede now runs an outstanding girls’ school in the heart of the Kibera slum in Nairobi, along with a clinic, a water and sanitation program, and job training classes. That slum school is one of the most hopeful places I’ve ever visited.

After I wrote about Shining Hope in 2011, Times readers contributed $180,000, leading to a huge expansion so that Shining Hope (mostly through the clinic) now serves some 36,000 people. Another nearby slum, Mathare, has invited Odede to start a girls’ school there if he can find the resources.

Dr. Hawa Abdi (vitalvoices.org/hawafund) runs a hospital, school and refugee camp in war-torn Somalia. She became an obstetrician-gynecologist partly because her mother had died in childbirth, and she has focused on helping rural Somali women.

The land around her 400-bed hospital, outside of Mogadishu, has become an encampment serving up to 90,000 people made homeless by war. Hawa has provided water, health care and education, and when students transfer to Mogadishu they are up to three grades ahead of children there. Hawa also is battling female genital mutilation, and she runs a jail for men who beat their wives.

An extremist Muslim militia with 750 soldiers attacked the hospital two years ago, saying that it was against religion for a woman to run anything substantial. Hawa stood up to the attackers and – because ordinary Somalis sided with her – she was able to force the militia to back down. Then she made the militia write her an apology!

Yet Hawa’s hospital and school are struggling financially. Vital Voices, a Washington organization supporting women’s rights, has set up a tax-deductible mechanism to keep Hawa’s work going. …

To read more click on link below:



This album would make a fab gift for any college-age girl. Girls need fewer frilly things and more lps like this one! Click on link below to hear one of my favorite songs!  – Rosalie Tirella


Everyone loves a PETA present!

Editor’s note: PETA does amazing work on behalf of animals all over the world. Animal abuse of all sorts – from pitbull fighting to  exotic animals in circuses or other traveling freak shows – PETA is on it! Hauling factory farms to court, saving Beagles in labs, making life easier for India’s beasts of burden, caring for the street dogs of Puerto Rico – and educating the world about animals and their complex/wonderful lives.

The insanity mankind inflicts on animals never seems to end. Thankfully, PETA is there to help.

Please support this incredible organization by buying cool, funky PETA stuff for the holidays.