While the weather outside may have been windy and cold, the atmosphere inside the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center this past Sunday was festive and warm. There was a buzz in the air as 4,500 children and 1,500 adults came together on December 20, 2015 to celebrate Christmas in the City. The participants, all from local area shelters and temporary housing, enjoyed a holiday party complete with a visit from Santa and gifts donated by the community. Faculty, staff, and students from New England College of Optometry, and its clinical affiliate, New England Eye volunteered their time to participate in this annual event.
Christmas in the City, a yearly event started in 1987 by Jake and Sparky Kennedy, is aimed at providing a wonderful experience to homeless families during the holiday season to alleviate the impact of homelessness. Each year, a staff of area volunteers provides lunch, entertainment, and a visit and gift from Santa. The event also includes playground activities with an indoor amusement park, aptly named “Winter Wonderland,” providing carnival attractions and pony rides!
In addition to the festivities, local service providers offered haircuts, dental cleanings, and vision screenings. New England Eye’s On-Sight Mobile Clinic was on hand to provide vision screenings to participants. Dr. Gary Chu, Dr. Armina Raeisian, Dr. Vinh Vu, and 4th year students Melanie Hennenfent and Jiayi Zhou provided vision screenings. They were joined at the event by Ina Carducci from New England Eye and On-Sight driver Ed Braverman.
The event was also attended by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who stopped by the van to see the good work being done by New England Eye. Thanks to all the individuals who volunteered their time and effort to make this event a great success.
Read more about the event in the Boston Globe article or on the Christmas in the City website.