Tag Archives: Wall Street

Friendly House families have a great Thanksgiving, thanks to WPI fraternity!!!

The Friendly House on Wall Street – a busy, giving place during the holidays!  photos: Elio Daci

The students give out food packages at the Friendly House … Go, WPI, go!!!!!

Story submitted by Elio Daci

It’s Thanksgiving Day! Most families look forward to spending time with their family over a warm, delicious Thanksgiving meal. Unfortunately, this is not a reality for many of our neighbors. Between heating costs, paying bills and other expenses, many people do not have the luxury of providing a holiday meal to their families.

There is a common misconception of what
those who are unable to feed their families look like. The vast majority of the people who seek help feeding their families are not people who you see on the street corner. Many who need help feeding their families are our neighbors who work multiple jobs simply to make ends meet – the men and women who have to make tough decisions every day, such as whether to pay for heating or food.

These are the people who work hard, but cannot provide a full Thanksgiving meal to their families.

Luckily, we live in a community that is dedicated to helping alleviate this pressure for our neighbors. Over the past month, a Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, has worked with the Worcester County Sheriff’s office and the Friendly House of Worcester to make sure families who are struggling have a Thanksgiving meal. Our just completed food drive is part of an ongoing partnership that dates back 21 years! Over the course of this partnership, more than 2.3 million pounds of food have been collected for the Friendly House!

“Although most of us are only in Worcester for four years for college, we definitely become a part of the community,” says Elio Daci, the External Vice President of Lambda Chi Alpha at WPI. “We all want to make sure we leave this city a better place than we found it, and this is just one way we do that.”

A large portion of donations for the food drive actually comes from the fraternity’s major bag drop event. More than 10,000 bags are distributed to homes across Worcester and Shrewsbury, asking for residents to fill them with non-perishable food items. The following week, all of the donations are picked up.

“It is very rewarding to see all the
donations on people’s door steps, especially after you’ve spent so much time distributing the bags,”said Aaron Pepin, a brother of Lambda Chi Alpha. The fraternity prides itself on its ability to give back to Worcester, and this tradition will continue as long as the need exists. The work these young men do in the community is perfectly captured by Elio Daci: “We might not be changing the world, but we are definitely making a difference for a lot of families, and that is what it’s all about. That’s what makes it all worth it.”

A few of the “brothers” carry the Thanksgiving groceries for a young mom.

A view from Grafton Hill

The Mayor’s Walk began at Friendly House. FH Director Gordon Hargrove (center) begins the early evening tour! pic submitted

By Gordon Davis

Joe Petty, the mayor of Worcester, walked the Wall Street neighborhood yesterday with city officials, District 2 City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson and neighborhood folks. He visited the Friendly House, Westerman’s, Grafton Street School and more. One of the stops on his walk was the empty lot that used to be the El Morocco Restaurant. The lot sits on high ground with a terrific view of the Worcester skyline.

A housing project of 90 units of 1, 2, 3 bedroom apartments is being planned for the now empty lot. All of the units will be market rate. There will be no affordable housing units. The developer stated that he could not build any affordable housing units under the state program.

Longtime director of Friendly House, Gordon Hargrove, felt that some of the units will eventually become affordable units.

Mr. Hargrove is working closely with the developer to ensure some additional benefit to the neighborhood. He indicated that the project would include upgrades to the Shale Street School playground.

The Mayor and developer showed a schematic of the building layout. However, the developer saidthe final project would look different than what was on the schematic. He did not have a copy of the revisions.

Like Mr. Hargrove, the Mayor felt that the housing units would help the neighborhood and the city.

The streets in the neighborhood are narrow, as most of the streets on the East Side were built well over 100 years ago. There might be some concerns about traffic and parking. For planners one and one-half cars per unit is considered standard.

Another concern expressed was how many children would live in the project and where they would go to school. An employee at Grafton Street School, only two blocks away, said the school was at capacity.

She also said Grafton Street School is the oldest functioning school building in the Worcester School District. There are some renovations going on at the school today, including a new boiler, windows and an elevator for people with physical handicaps.

During the walk City Manager Edward Augustus asked a DPW employee how often the storm drains were cleaned on this street, as he pointed to a clogged drain. The DPW worker said his department cleans the drains.

The walk ended on an interesting note – at Westerman’s, a vendor in Worcester that provides props for local movies. Included in props was the Teddy Bear from the movies “Ted” and Ted2”!

Mayor Joe Petty in our in-city neighborhoods – always in style! … and … a cool recipe Italiano!!!

20160520_162823_HDR-1 pics:R.T.

From the Mayor’s Office!!!!:


5 p.m. – starting at the Friendly House!

Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty will be leading a Mayor’s Walk around the Wall Street portion of the Grafton Hill neighborhood this evening …

… from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

We will be starting at Friendly House (36 Wall St.), then moving on to the former El Morocco site, and finally stopping at Westerman’s (50 Suffolk St.).

The Mayor will be joined by fellow elected officials, members of the administration, service providers and neighborhood group representatives.



Don’t forget! Tomorrow! REC Beaver Brook Farmers Market – across the street from Foley Stadium!

Farmers Market 1-1-1

Veggies at ICT head honcho Rosalie’s shack:

She’s growing a 5-foot-tall tomato plant but ZERO tomato buds! What the?????

A friend gave R this corn yesterday – straight from the farmer’s farm! Thank you, friend!


P.S. Here’s a great Italiano recipe from PETA.ORG!

Put the brakes on animal cruelty/American factory farms!

Giambotta – Southern Italian Vegetable Stew!


Also spelled Ciambotta, this is a traditional dish hailing from Southern Italy!

It’s comfort food at its finest — and simplest!

1 Tbsp. oil or water…Saute in frying pan:

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Add to big pot filled with 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth and 1 (28-oz.) can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes:

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces

2 large yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced

2 medium zucchini or summer squash, diced

Spice it up with:

2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup (10 to 12 leaves) chopped basil

Cook in pot to taste…enjoy!

Copyright 2015 Compassionate Cooks, LLC. Reprinted and adapted from The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Healthfully and Living Compassionately by permission of the author, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Don’t forget! Please support in-city kids tomorrow! Donate or volunteer at the Friendly House Halloween Party!

Boo! It’s Chef Joey!


Please help the FRIENDLY HOUSE on Wall Street make this Halloween special for Worcester’s inner-city children!

Donate toys and CANDY for:

The Friendly House’s Annual Halloween Party

Tomorrow, Friday, October 30

4 pm – 7 pm

All donations can be brought to the Friendly House. All candy must be wrapped.

To volunteer, be there half hour early!

If you plan on taking your family to the Halloween party:

Children 12 years and younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

From 4 – 4:30 pm the Friendly House party will be open to the younger children (4 years and under)

Have fun, kids! BE SAFE!

The Friendly House youth programs soar!

By Danielle Delgado

The Friendly House Youth Programs have noticeably been pushing towards a bigger and brighter future. With more than 2,300 youth served during the FY 2014 by its youth programs, Friendly House is moving onward and upward!

Over the last three years many of its programs have almost doubled and parent engagement has been resurrected!

Friendly House has a rich history of serving the Grafton Hill neighborhood for more than 94 years. The agency had embedded community, family and service in all that is does. Most recently Friendly House was named Worcester’s Non-Profit of the Year.

Some of this year’s program highlights are from its numerous Family Events (most recently its Annual Christmas Party hosting more than 1,200 children and families), Youth Hoops Program and its After School Drop In Program.

The Friendly House basketball program started back in the early 1980s and quickly became one of the best programs in the central Massachusetts area. It started off with 20 or so children and has grown to more than 300 participants this year, with the program doubling in size over the past three seasons. We attract children from the inner city area of Worcester but also have participants from the other towns of the Central Massachusetts area. The participants range in ages starting at 2nd grade with 9th grade being the last year a player is eligible.

The main focus of the program is to give kids the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the game of basketball while promoting sportsmanship, teamwork and the importance of education. We also try to stress the importance of these traits in all areas of life, not just basketball.

We strive for excellence and are moving towards continuing to grow the program each year. In recent seasons we have added an alumni basketball game where players from earlier seasons compete against each other. This year’s game is to be played on January 31st. New basketball hoops have also been installed a few seasons back and we continue to try to find ways to improve our program on a daily basis.

The After School Program has also been gaining momentum in the past few years. We have been adding new programs every year to help enhance the quality of the children’s experiences. This year we added an Arts program with collaborations from the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester Center for Crafts, No Evil Project and Grafton St School. K-3Rd grade did self portraits with the Art Museum, 4th graders will be doing tile work with the Center for Crafts and the 5th and 6th graders will be going photo work with the No Evil Project.

The parent involvement support has been growing each year. Without parent involvement we wouldn’t be able to have success with events such as Family Pot Luck Dinners, Parent/Child Dance, Bake Sales etc. With the parents help we are able to make the program fun and unique for the children.

As in past years, the Afterschool participants also attend a program at WPI on Tuesdays and Thursdays in which the children get to experience different clubs and groups on the college campus. In addition, the children participate in the Little Buddies program which is collaboration with St. Francis Nursing Home.

There have been so many fabulous things happening at Friendly House over the past three years! We are hoping that 2015 continues to bless our agency, families and our community!!

Friendly House Christmas party photos …

… by Ron O’Clair

I arrived shortly after two o’clock, [Sunday], and the place was at overflow capacity, with people being asked to remain outside due to the gym being at capacity.

There was a police lieutenant posted outside directing traffic and manning the crosswalk.

I took photographs showing the overflow crowd.

As I was leaving there were still more parents and children heading to the party.

The place was mobbed. [Families had to be turned away, with a promise of a mini-party, including Christmas presents for the kids, on Monday.]

I asked [Executive Director] Gordon [Hargrove] if he had enough presents for all the children. He seemed to think he did.



Friendly House Executive Director Gordon Hargrove introduces the Friendly House Chorus to the audience. There were lots of music/dance groups to entertain party goers! The celebration, a decades-old tradition, was held in the gymnasium of the Friendly House (pictured below) on Wall Street.


Below: Worcester police officer directs traffic in the crosswalk to the Friendly House. 



It’s almost here! Buy a Youthgrow Thanksgiving pie! And donate Thanksgiving foods to the Friendly House!


Jett says: Don’t be a Scrooge this holiday season! Help others out!

If it’s all about giving thanks for all your good fortune and blessings, why not give thanks by helping Worcester inner-city kids reach their potential? Why not give thanks by making sure no Worcester family is hungry on this Thanksgiving Day?   – R. Tirella


YouthGrow Thanksgiving pies!

These pies are beautiful, delicious and made with lots of food justice love!

Buy one for Thanksgiving dinner and one to enjoy later on … because they’re that yummy!

Get your Thanksgiving Pie from your favorite Food Justice organization – Worcester’s Regional Environmental Council! Support REC’s youth programs – especially YOUTHGROW!!

So you know: REC has been around for 20 years, detoxifying Worcester  inner-city soil, starting and helping to maintain scores of urban community gardens in places like Main South, Green Island, etc, advocating for clean, safe city neighborhoods. REC makes fresh produce available to inner city families through their Worcester farmers markets and farmers  market van. REC works with Worcester  inner-city youth.  Its staff and volunteers – all so young, hip and aware! – expose our city kids to gardening, healthy eating, physical activity/outdoor exercise, community responsibility and community love!

THE REC YOUTHGROW PIES ARE GREAT! Organic, local apple pies made from scratch!

Order yours now! For your family or a friend’s!

Pick up or delivery of unbaked apple pies on Monday, November 24.

You bake it fresh for Thanksgiving morning!

All-butter crust or vegan on request for the low price of $20 per pie.

Email youthgrow@recworcester.org to place your order today!



Every year the Friendly House on Wall Street provides hundreds of low-income families with soup -to-nut Thanksgiving meal ingredients!


Help Executive Director Gordon Hargrove, Education Director Daniella Delgado, the lovely Josefina and the lovely Susan D. help others!

They’re asking you to donate the following to their main site on Wall Steet (off Grafton Street):

Canned vegetables and fruit

Cans of soup

Cans of nuts 

Canned cranberry sauce

Canned gravy

Boxes of rice


Boxes of stuffing

Instant potatoes

Frozen turkeys

Boxes of pasta

Pies of all sorts

(Also needed: plastic bags or reusable totes)

THANK YOU! Your generosity is appreciated!

Thanksgiving meal donations needed at Friendly House

Every year the Friendly House on Wall Street provides hundreds of low-income families with soup -to-nut Thanksgiving meal ingredients!

Help them help others!

They are asking you to donate the following:

Canned vegetables

Canned cranberry sauce

Canned gravy

Boxes of rice


Boxes of stuffing

Instant potatoes

Frozen turkeys

Boxes of pasta

Pies of all sorts

THANK YOU! Your generosity is appreciated!

– R. Tirella