Tag Archives: South Worcester

The Boys and Girls Club of Worcester – feeding our kids!💛

Childhood Hunger Rate in Worcester Higher than the National Average

The Boys & Girls Club of Worcester Serves Kids a FREE Dinner 5 Nights a Week

Steve “Tank” Tankinow, the Kid’s Café Director💜💙💛

We don’t need to search very far for statistics on childhood hunger:

1 in 4 kids goes to bed hungry in Worcester.

That’s higher than the national average of 1 in 5.

Childhood hunger is linked to lasting effects on our kids’ social development, physical health, and academic performance.

In fact, 93% of educators are concerned about the long-term damage hunger can have on our youth.

When children are hungry:

88% are unable to concentrate in school

87% struggle with lack of energy or motivation

65% exhibit behavioral problems

84% have overall poor academic performance

Often times, the foods they have access to pose no nutritional value.

80% of our Club members live at or below the poverty level, limiting their exposure to fresh, healthy foods. The financial limitations on our families force parents to serve fast food or processed and packaged meals.

Our Club is the only place in the city where kids can receive a FREE, nutritious dinner 5 days a week.

Kid’s Café provides approximately 300 youth a day with nutritious meals.

Steve “Tank” Tankinow, our Kid’s Café Director, has been cooking home-style meals for our members for over 17 years, dedicating himself to serving the hungry children in Worcester.

Eating good food at the Club💜💛

If you’re interested in helping our Club provide dinner 5 nights a week for our kids, please consider making a donation!

How it all Began:

Tank’s Story:

“I’ve been a member of the Boys & Girls Club since I was a kid. To me, it was a safe place. I always felt at home. When I came back as an adult, the sounds and even the smells were the same as I remembered as a kid.

I was inspired to start Kid’s Café as a way of giving back to the community. Because my career has been involved in nutrition, I wanted to do something that provided good, healthy food for kids. I worked with the Worcester County Food Bank and the Boys & Girls Club, and formed a non-profit organization. We started by making supper for a handful of kids 17 years ago; now we feed about 300 kids a hot, nutritious meal 2 days a week (3 days a week we are provided meals through the Federal Government). We’re helping keep kids healthy. It’s an important part of the mission of the Boys & Girls Club.

I’ve been fortunate that so many people have volunteered to help, or responded when I called. We’ve had everyone from executives to high school students contributing food or money to buy food. They pitch in as teams to cook and serve. It’s a lot of work to feed 300 kids, but with the community support we always get it done.”- Steven “Tank” Tankinow (excerpt from alumni profile in 2011 annual report)

Fallon Health Opens Food Pantry at Our Club

We’re thrilled to provide our kids with nutritious food while at the Club, but we also want to ensure their health at home.

Fallon Health has opened a food pantry at our Harrington Clubhouse to help our organization further fight childhood hunger.

This crucial addition to our case management department will provide Club families with food and resources during tough times and emergencies such as a death in the family or unemployment.

Several Fallon Health employees volunteered their time to set up the pantry and stock the new shelves with non-perishable items such as canned vegetables, pasta, and cereal.

The pantry will be restocked throughout the year to ensure we can continue assisting our families. The generosity of Fallon Health has enabled our staff to help our families in a new and pivotal capacity.

If you’re interested in donating to our food pantry, please contact Liz Hamilton, Executive Director, at:

Boys & Girls Club of Worcester
65 Tainter Street, Worcester, MA, 01610-2520, United States


Vernon Hill – you-know-what raffle – Sunday, March 20

Text and photos by Ron O’Clair

1st Photograph:


State Senator Mike Moore and Richard “Dick” Castle who was with the Air National Guard on Skyline Drive. I have known Dick since the days he was a customer of my Father’s Texaco Station of 544 Millbury St. – back when Jimmy Carter was President and there was the Fuel Embargo, with people only able to get gas on odd or even days, according to the last number on your license plate!

2nd Photo:


This photograph shows a lucky winner with three live lobsters from the Lobster Table. It was the only table I missed when I went out to get a smoke.

3rd Picture:


This photo shows the lucky winner (myself!), with a Budderball 13/19 bone in ham that I chose from the last table after missing my chances at the lobsters by going out to see if my friend Gary Osher needed anything. He was waiting in my rented 2016 Nissan Sentra. I rented it from Enterprise Rental because my 1991 antique Volkswagen Golf GL is on the fritz. Then: Someone hit and run the rented Nissan the night before! Parked in front of my house! Good thing I opted for the insurance, or I would be on the hook for $3,000 in damages on the rental.

4th Photograph:


This photo shows the last table that has my Butter Ball Ham on it.

5th Photograph:


This picture shows the Menard family and their five children. The kids benefit from the South Worcester Baseball League run by Tom L’Ecuyer and Bill Guinette out of Maloney’s Field on Cambridge Street. That’s what this meat raffle was for – to help pay for uniforms, equipment, snacks, etc for the teams – comprised of South Worcester kids.

There was a good turnout. The 50/50 raffle paid the winner $224. So that was another $224 that went directly to the South Worcester Baseball League!

The tickets I bought amounted to $20 – out of pocket, for a good cause, at 6 tickets for $5. For each table I was there for including the 50/50 raffle.

I did alright winning the ham, and had I won the 50/50 raffle, I would have donated the proceeds to the baseball league! It is a very worthwhile thing to support our youth sports programs here in the City of Worcester!

March Baseball Registration Announcement 2016

South Worcester! Baseball at Maloney field – the ol’ boys behind the young boys


Tom L’Ecuyer and Bill Guenette in the snack shop/announcers booth. Tom was giving a players update of who was at bat and such.


Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. giving Bill Guenette a check for $500 out of confiscated drug money to fund this program for the children on the teams in the baseball league.

Photos and cutlines by Ron O’Clair 



South Worcester Neighborhood Center Executive Director Ron Charette (right) and his brother at SWNIC’s 2014 Holiday celebration. More than 1,000 families went to Camp Street and were given holiday meals, new toys for children, personal care products and/or winter clothing. Ron helps Worcester folks get through tough times! (photo by Ron O’Clair)

By Rosalie Tirella

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to me (cuz this is Worcester politics), but IT DOES (cuz I’m STILL an idealist): Worcester city officials and our local state legislators are gonna pretty much let the South Worcester Neighborhood Center die.

Close its Camp Street doors forever.

Stop caring for and helping hundreds of low-income/working-class South Worcester, Main South and Green Island families.

Within the next couple of months. 

Pathetic! Our Worcester city councilors and state legislators vote themselves raises left and right, give themselves perks galore, own nice homes, vacation homes, buy Worcester rental property at sweetheart deal rates, etc, etc, but they can’t come up with the paltry amount of $$ it takes to help a social service agency put food into the mouths of poor kids.

Or give warm winter clothes to a poor local guy or gal who needs to brave the Woo elements.

Nope! It’s to hell with you! I’ve got mine! And Worcester’s destitute get more destitute. Every day the city feels poorer, more and more like Pottersville in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Before Jimmy Stewart rubs his eyes and realizes it was all a BAD DREAM.


The South Worcester Neighborhood Center goes WITHOUT HEAT THIS WINTER!

It goes without $$ to pay its Crompton Park site manager. 

But who cares?

It’s only poor people! Most of them don’t even vote! And they’re not politically “connected” in any way, shape or form! So there are no consequences for politicians who drop the ball.

Oh, well!

Hungry little kids?

Too bad!They’re only Worcester’s future!

Why should Worcester political LEADERS care if SWNIC’s summer program for kids – the one that has Holy Cross college students volunteering with low income  kids all summer long FOR FREE FOR FAMILIES – why should our city councilors give a hoot if that program ends? And working parents have one less FREE child care option?

One more latch-key kid roaming Hacker Street shouldn’t make a bit of difference!

Why should the Worcester City Council or Worcester officials care if SWNIC’s food pantry closes? Or its referral program ends? Or its bilingual staff becomes unemployed?

Their tushies are warm on their SUV’s heated cushies! In some instances, courtesy of the Worcester taxpayer!

To enter a FREEZING COLD South Worcester Neighborhood Center in the middle of winter because Worcester city councilors or our local state legislators can’t cobble together the grant money or funds from somewhere to keep SWNIC staff and volunteers warm is heart-breaking.  The elderly SWNIC volunteers who come in to the center to knit winter hats and scarves for the poor of Cambridge, Southbridge, Webster or Canterbury streets have to sit in front of little electric space heaters to do their knitting!

Why should Worcester pols care? It’s only Worcester’s old people!  Why honor or even respect our senior citizens?! They just toiled in our factories, built this city! Who gives a fig?!

This brand of thoughtlessness was on full display when then Worcester Mayor Tim Murray, heading out the door to become Massachusetts’ newly minted LG, DOUBLED the salaries of all Worcester city councilors and Worcester school committee members pretty much on the heels of cutting the Worcester School Department’s recently hired minority teacher recruitment officer.  The person was part time and made around $20,000 a year.  Murray did this knowing there would be no political consequences for him because he was leaving city politics – only to self-destruct on the state and national political stages. Money, greed and selfishness brought Timmy down when he was lieutenant governor. Tim had a false sense of security because he graduated from, got his “diploma” from the Worcester School of Good Ol’ White Irish Boys Politics.  He, like the rest of his fellow grads, hit all the right benchmarks: white, Catholic, Irish, St. John’s High School, Holy Cross college, Fordham University or Boston College, trips to Ireland, Christ the King Church, those pointless, beige cable-knit sweaters … . Too bad Tim was a moron and threw all his blessings away! Too bad he wasn’t listening to more Sinead O’Connor and less crooked fundraiser pal. (For Murray to play the naive altar boy and deny knowing anything crooked was going on was a stupid Murray lie on top of more Murray lies!)

But Tim Murray begat City Manager Mike O’Brien, and former City Manager Mike O’Brien changed over the decade he lorded over us Worcesterites. In the end, Mike O’Brien became a Republican leading a Democratic city, and too many organizations and people with clout in Worcester resisted him. He couldn’t realize his vision. So he left. O’Brien, who once said, almost teary eyed!, that Worcester was THE VERY FIBER OF HIS VERY SOUL and who was also on a not-so-secret mission to kill all affordable housing in Worcester is now living in very Republican Southboro and schlepping affordable housing for Winn Development! HA! How’s that for poetic justice?!

But I digress!

It was Mike O’Brien, as Worcester City Manager, who began freezing South Worcester Neighborhood Center’s funding a few years back. But SWNIC Executive Director Ron Charette soldiered on, running the center, helping more people than ever, running a kick ass summer program, etc. He called O’Brien’s City Hall office and asked for meetings with O’Brien every other day. To talk, discuss the center and all the people it serves. O’Brien’s office never once returned Ron’s phone calls.

Then things got tighter. New City Manager Ed Augustus was supposed to meet with Ron, then cancelled, then acquiesced – but only if he could bring his lawyer to the meeting with Ron.


Does Augustus know a Worcester social service center needs heat? Does Augustus know the center will close without some money earmarked for it? Does Augustus, who makes almost $200,000 as HEAD OF WORCESTER and lives just outside BOSTON IN MILLIS, where I’m certain he supports his town’s social service center, even CARE?

Like I said: SWNIC is hurtin’. Which means more poor families in Worcester will be hurtin’. Soon.

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.

Speak out! They’re our kids’ play spaces!!

What do YOU want to see in our neighborhood playgrounds? More swings? More benches? Better lighting? … The City of Worcester Parks and Recreation Department has scheduled public hearings on the master plans for these playgrounds:

BELL HILL –  Betty Price Playground

 6:30 p.m., Oct. 20

Meeting Room A at 50 Skyline Drive

Other master plan meetings for this play space will be held on:

Nov. 17 and Dec. 11,  6:30 p.m., 50 Skyline Drive


South Worcester Playground

6:30 p.m., Nov. 3

At the South Worcester Neighborhood Center

47 Camp St.

Another hearing is scheduled for Dec. 1, at the same time and location. Meeting #3 – Feb. 5 meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission; 6:30 p.m. in Meeting Room A, 50 Skyline Drive

A piece of Worcester political history!

By Rosalie Tirella

Look what I found while unpacking/moving into my new digs! A wonderful VOTE [for JAN] NADEAU CITY COUNCIL bumper sticker! When I found my old VOTE GARY ROSEN WORCESTER CITY COUNCIL comb a few weeks ago, I smiled, posted a pic of  it here … and then tossed it! The Nadeau bumper sticker? Well, Jan deserves a place of honor: I put her on my refrigerator, where she joins (via  photos) all the folks and animals I have known and loved! As John Lennon sang, “There are places I remember/all my life … /All these places have their moments/with lovers and friends I still can recall/Some are dead and gone forever …”

But are they “gone forever” if you sing about them? Write about them?

Jan and District 4.

Jan and her cigs!

Jan and her polyester pant-suits!

Jan and her bangs!

Jan sitting in a booth in the Pickle Barrel, holding office hours!

Jan walking up the flights of stairs in the three deckers of Green Island, visiting poor folks, including my mother, letting them know they and their neighborhood mattered. They had a voice! Sing it loud and strong!

District councilors? Inner-city representation in Woo? We can thank Jan Nadeau for helping get that ball rolling.

Jan was so real, so sincerely nice. So dedicated to District 4!

I miss all 90 pounds of her!