The restaurant industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but one Dorchester eatery is raising money and collecting new toys for kids in need.
For the past seven years, the Harp + Bard Restaurant & Bar has hosted an “Ugly-Sweater Party” for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, where club staffers have helped raise as much as $9,000 at the annual event.
This year, the restaurant isn’t able to host the event because of COVID-19 but is asking people to make donations to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester or bring in new and unwrapped gifts for youngsters.
“This year’s been so tough on everyone, especially kids not being in school and being away from their friends,” said Maura Galvin, general manager of the Harp + Bard. “Christmas is something every kid looks forward to. So it’s important to bring some sort of cheer and joy to their lives.”
Chad Hassey, director of teen development and programming at the BGCD, said the restaurant’s ugly-sweater party has raised more than $50,000 over the last seven years and collect hundreds of toys and winter clothing for families.
“Now, when times are tough for everyone, especially the restaurant business, they have selflessly stepped up once again, only thinking about what they can do for the families of the BGCD,” Hassey said. “They’re truly the definition of a community, and they will always have a special place within the BGCD family.”
Since March, the BGCD has since distributed nearly 15,000 grab-and-go meals and hosted more than 400 virtual program videos and Zoom lessons for youngsters. The BGCD also delivered diapers and formula to hundreds of parents, and has continued to be a vital resource for families.
The club reopened in July for a successful summer program, serving 245 children and providing 100 teens with summer jobs. It also has created learning hubs to support children in grades K to 8 during school day hours. The learning hub program includes meals, technology assistance, academic support and guidance. Hubs are led by BGCD staff, with a focus on supporting the children’s social emotional well-being as they adapt to virtual learning.
Donations can be made using a mobile phone to scan a QR Code on cards placed at each table at the Harp + Bard at 1099 Dorchester Ave. Donations also can be made by visiting https://give.bgcdorchester.org/holidays. Or people can leave a new, unwrapped gift in a drop-off box at the restaurant. Checks are also welcome.
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