Globe North People

Be Santa for a senior

Grace Conti, Matti Burns, and Salina Mallory (left to right) at the third annual Burnstock Hack-A-Thon for Hope. Grace Conti, Matti Burns, and Salina Mallory (left to right) at the third annual Burnstock Hack-A-Thon for Hope.
By Wendy Killeen
December 17, 2009

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BE SANTA FOR A SENIOR: While children are often the focus of the holidays, Home Instead Senior Care of Massachusetts believes it’s also a time to share with senior citizens.

The agency - which has offices in Chelmsford, Melrose, North Andover, and about a dozen other communities - will distribute some 2,000 gifts to seniors at 50 locations.

Be a Santa to a Senior provides gifts and companionship.

Martha Cashins, who heads the program at the North Andover office, said, “Last year, the only visitor one senior had all year was the person delivering her ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ gift and card. The card is still on display a year later. It was the only card she received that year.’’

Shoppers can pick up a special ornament at dozens of participating stores, buy items on the accompanying list, and return them unwrapped to the store with the ornament attached. Home Instead Senior Care staff and volunteers then wrap and distribute the gifts.

Participating stores include Walgreens in Tewksbury (2341 Main St.), Lowell (1200 Bridge St.), Billerica (446 Boston Road), Chelmsford (86 Chelmsford St.), and Westford (145 Littleton Road), as well as at Henry’s Market, 588 Cabot St., Beverly.

HELPING BRIDES, AND CHILDREN: Brides-to-be shopping at Bella Bridal Shoppe in Amesbury today through Sunday can get a deal and help Children’s Hospital in Boston.

The store is selling all sample gowns on the floor for half price.

“We are discounting the dresses because a lot of our clients this year are experiencing some difficult economic hardships and we thought this might be one way to help them,’’ said Fred D’Agata, president of Bella Bridal Shoppe.

The store is also donating $100 from the sale of each gown to the cardiac wing of Children’s Hospital in Boston. There will be raffles of merchandise and services from area businesses, with 100 percent of proceeds donated to the hospital.

Last January, D’Agata’s 6-month-old son, Luca, had successful open-heart surgery at Children’s Hospital.

Call 978-388-4388 or visit

HOLIDAY SING-ALONG: The Firehouse Center in Newburyport hosts its annual Holiday Sing-A-Long at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The youth choir from the Immaculate Conception Church in Newburyport leads everyone in familiar carols. Terry Blanchard, a member of the Firehouse board, reads “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.’’

After the presentation, Santa visits the lobby to greet children and pose for photographs. A treat for each child is included in the $3 ticket price.

Call 978-462-7336 or visit

YOUNG WITH HEART: Matti Burns of Boxford, a freshman at Dana Hall School in Wellesley, hosted her third annual Hack-A-Thon for Hope at Burnstock Barn in Boxford, raising $2,000 for Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation.

Twenty-two young equestrians rode their horses more than 60 miles through Round Top Park, the Bay Circuit Trail, and Lockwood Forest. They received pledges from family and friends for each mile they rode.

“A young lady, a love of horses, and the desire to make a difference - that is the simple, yet inspiring, story of Miss Matti Burns,’’ said Jennifer Tartaglia, development director at Windrush. “Her caring spirit and dedication to help those less fortunate amazes me. She is an inspiration to all young people who yearn to make a meaningful mark on the world.’’

Windrush Farm is a 200-acre nonprofit horse farm in North Andover and Boxford that specializes in teaching physically, emotionally, and learning-disabled people to ride and work with horses. Each year, it provides a range of horse-assisted therapies to more than 300 adults, children, and their families.

Call 978-682-7855 or visit

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Beth Kessler Hoffman of Swampscott has joined Temple Ner Tamid in Peabody as the synagogue administrator and office manager. She was executive director of Temple Israel in Swampscott for meight years, participating in the merger of Temple Israel and Temple Beth El into Congregation Shirat Hayem. For the past two years, she was director of activities and Jewish culture at Chelsea Jewish Nursing Homes Assisted Living, Cohen Florence Levine Estates. . . . Several new doctors have joined Hallmark Health System, which includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. Dr. Neal Chuang has joined the surgical team and has a special interest in minimally invasive thoracic surgery. His office is in Woburn. Dr. Mohammad Hakim of Lexington, who is certified in internal, pediatric, and adolescent medicine, and Dr. Albert H. Fine of Revere, who has been practicing medicine for more than 30 years, both have joined Hallmark’s facility in Medford.

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