The Boys and Girls Club of Warwick wants to give people a better Christmas. For the 10th consecutive year, they have invited members from their two branches in Oakland Beach and Norwood to visit their makeshift toy store at 42 Frederick Street to select multiple presents for their children.
“Instead of giving one gift, we give a family a Christmas and memories,” said Executive Director Lara D’Antuono. “As a parent I can’t imagine anything worse than not being able to give my child a gift that I picked out. That’s the perfect gift for any parent.”
While few parents wanted to reveal their identities, one gentleman said he has been choosing gifts for his son for the last five years. He is an unemployed single father and said he wouldn’t be able to provide his son the Christmas he deserves without the Club’s shop.
“This gives me the opportunity to put things under the Christmas tree for him,” the man said. “He’s a good kid and is going to have a nice Christmas. That’s the most important thing to me.”
Further, Boys and Girls Club employees volunteer their time to set up the store and help parents shop. They also pick up gifts from agencies that donate gifts and monetary contributions, such as Gregg’s Restaurant, 99 Restaurant, Provant Health and Toys for Tots. Boys and Girls Club board members also make donations.
Nicole Spirito, the child care director for the Boys and Girls Club, said she enjoys lending a hand.
“We feel like little elves,” she said. “Knowing we can help parents in need and give them support is the least we can do.”
Monique Rossi, the Open Door director, agreed. She feels especially touched hearing the reaction from new members when they are informed of the shop.
“They say, ‘Are you for real?’” she said. “Hearing them say, ‘Thank you so much,’ makes me happy.”
Administrative Assistant Pamela Larkin also said it brings her joy. In fact, she felt the spirit of Christmas when a parent who benefited from the shop in the past visited this year to make a donation.
“She started to cry and I did too because it was very nice,” she said.
D’Antuono said she is thrilled the Club can offer assistance. She thinks it’s “amazing.”
“It’s one of those things that really makes a difference,” she said.