The pandemic has disrupted many things, including the Greater Boston PCA’s holiday party. Breaking a longstanding tradition, the organization was unable to present its annual gathering this past December. Instead, the PCA honored the spirit of the season by redirecting the funds it would have spent on the party and donating $25,000 to charity. Combined with gifts made earlier in the year by both the PCA and Local 12, the two organizations donated a total of $105,000 to worthy causes in 2020.
The PCA’s president, Joe Valante, says he got the idea to make the donations after seeing people lining up at food banks and realizing the tremendous need in the community. The pandemic that forced the organization to cancel its holiday party has also caused a lot of unemployment and made life difficult for many Boston-area families.
“It struck a chord in my heart,” Valante says. “If we couldn’t get together and celebrate, I thought it would make sense for us to help people who are less fortunate.”
Among the five charities chosen by the PCA for its holiday season donations was Community Servings. The Jamaica Plain-based organization provides meals to chronically and critically ill individuals and their families. It also provides food service job training for people who face barriers to full-time employment. Father Bill’s & MainSpring, another beneficiary, provides emergency and permanent housing to people in Southern Massachusetts who are struggling with homelessness. It also helps individuals and families in emergency housing with food and nutrition, job training, and other basic needs.
Since 1989, Boston’s Christmas in the City has been presenting non-denominational holiday events for children and families experiencing homelessness and poverty. Located in Roxbury, Rosie’s Place was founded in 1974 as the first women’s shelter in the U.S.
The final holiday donation recipient was The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Roxbury. Its programs include an aquatic facility, culinary training, sports and recreation, creative arts, and social services. Opened in 2011, the center was one of the few major construction projects for union contractors during the recession following the 2008 crash. Its gesture of providing employment for working men and women during that difficult time will not soon be forgotten.
Last spring, the PCA, in conjunction with Local 12, made sizeable contributions to the Greater Boston Food Bank and the Boston Resiliency Fund. Established by Mayor Martin Walsh as the pandemic began exacting a toll on the city, the Resiliency Fund provides food for children and seniors, technology for students engaged in remote learning, and support to first responders and healthcare workers in the city.
Valante says that going forward, he hopes the PCA will continue to make donations to charitable organizations. “When we can, we should give back to the community that has been so good to us–especially when there is such great need,” he adds.