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Quincy community comes together to help those in need

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  October 18, 2013 03:04 PM

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For some, to live in Quincy is to make a pact, one in which addresses become akin to family ties, and streets become contracts to loyalty.

Though the sentiment smacks of mobster movies and shady political alliances, most often the camaraderie becomes a tale of support. Neighbors come together to provide for vulnerable families, residents reach out to those who used to be one of their own.

“I think Quincy, despite being a city of nearly 100,000 people, is a city of cohesive neighborhoods,” said Ward 4 City Councilor Brian Palmucci. “And I think when something happens to somebody in your neighborhood, in our neighborhoods, the rest of the neighbors rally behind them.”

In recent weeks, two groups have come together for community causes -- one in support of Donna Sullivan, diagnosed with ALS in June; and another to raise money for Quincy native and now Dorchester resident Kevin Cellucci, who has been in a coma since a car accident in Jamaica Plain on Sept. 6.

“It’s that kind of community,” said Karen Hudson, a Quincy resident who is helping organize the benefit for Sullivan. “Let’s reach out and show our support.”

For the Sullivan event, Hudson said, the outpouring of support for this Saturday's fund-raiser at the Quincy Sons of Italy is only the beginning of the community rallying together.

One neighbor has organized a “helping hands” signup, where people from inside and outside the neighborhood have volunteered for different things.

Whether it’s sitting down to have a cup of tea with Sullivan, taking her out to dinner, helping her with paperwork, or just going out for a ride, people have signed up to assist in whatever way they can.

“It’s overwhelming,” Hudson said. “There are days three to five people are saying they can do something. It’s been an incredible show of support.”

The neighborhood even came together to help build a deck on Sullivan’s house.

It isn’t the first time neighbors have come together. During Quincy storms, generators are shared throughout the neighborhood to ensure everyone has power, Hudson said. And in less-stressful instances, locals watch over neighbors’ houses when they go away on vacation.

Hopes are high that such strong community ties will bring people out for Saturday's fund-raiser, which is intended to help Sullivan and her family deal with the medical expenses associated with the disease.

“Donna was a para-professional. We brought the school community together, and they’ve been running around [selling tickets]…more and more people are coming to the event, even people that don’t know her,” Hudson said. “Our hope is that it’s going to be an awesome event.”

Elsewhere in Quincy, friends and family have rallied around Cellucci, a Quincy High graduate.

A finish carpenter with the Local 40, Cellucci was on his way to a job in early September when a speeding SUV jumped the median directly into oncoming traffic, slamming into Cellucci’s car.

The husband and father to three boys, all under the age of four, has been in a coma ever since, and was moved to the Disorder of Consciousness program at Spaulding Cambridge in mid-October.

Since the accident, relatives and friends have been organizing a Nov. 2 fund-raiser at the IBEW Local 103 Hall in Dorchester, featuring entertainment as well as a live and silent auction.

Money will support the Cellucci family and help them deal with medical expenses.

“We’re expecting a large crowd,” said cousin Pete Alvarado, who lives in Quincy. “We’ve had a lot of support. A lot of local unions have contacted us.”

In addition to the support from unions, companies and residents from Quincy, South Boston, and Dorchester have donated items for raffle, even putting together a food train for Cellucci’s wife and kids.

“I didn’t realize how generous people are, and how many people Kevin knew and we knew," Alvarado said. "It’s actually been overwhelming."

"[People have] been talking to us and offering just about anything. They have really been awesome. It’s been an incredible experience,” Alvarado said

Though Cellucci no longer lives in the city, Palmucci said it isn't unusual for the city to support a native.

"I’ve often heard it said when you’re from Quincy, you're from Quincy no matter where you go ... That’s how residents look at it when it comes to supporting somebody in need," he said.

Family and Friends in Support of Donna Sullivan
Oct. 26, 7 p.m. till 12 a.m.
Sons of Italy, Quincy
Advance tickets: $10, Tickets at the door: $15
To purchase tickets in advance please contact Karen Zanoni-Hudson at 781-421-3772.
To donate click here.

Kevin Cellucci Foundation
Nov. 2, 7 p.m.
IBEW Local 103 Hall, 256 Freeport Street, Dorchester
Advance tickets: $20, Tickets at the door: $25
To purchase tickets in advance, contact Pete Alvarado at
To donate click here.

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