BALD SYMPATHY: Hopkinton 10-year-old Trey Brown prefers his hair a little long in the front, but fashion gave way to compassion when he and his lacrosse teammates recently had their heads shaved in solidarity with fellow player Owen DiNicola, whose mother, Holly, is battling metastatic breast cancer.
The fifth- and sixth-graders, all members of the Pirates Lacrosse Club in Hopkinton, were joined at Chris’ Barber Shop in Ashland by their siblings and coaches, who agreed to participate in the head-shaving event if the team exceeded $10,000 in fund-raising.
Over the past six weeks, the youths collected $16,083 through an online fund-raising website, www.crowdrise.com/pirates. In addition, the barber shop did not charge for the buzz cuts, and its employees contributed their tips to the effort benefiting the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Trey said he was “a little shocked” by the support of so many classmates, family members, friends, co-workers of their parents, and local business people, each of whom he personally thanked on Facebook. While he acknowledged that “probably all the kids were nervous,” he said the barbers made the experience fun — particularly when it was the coaches’ turn.
“We just want [Owen] to know we support him,” Trey said, “and we hope he feels safe and happy and knows everything is going to be OK.”
Holly DiNicola said the experience has also been “unbelievably inspiring” for her, her husband, Roy, and their two older sons, 15-year-old Ryan and 12-year-old Casey.
“It’s a testament to the organization, which teaches the kids just as much off the field as on it,” Roy said. “It is an honor to be involved with them.”
HELP THY NEIGHBOR: In addition to seeking the customary donations of money and nonperishable food items this holiday season, the Holliston Pantry Shelf is partnering once again with the Holliston Newcomers Club to collect new and gently used winter coats for local families in need.
According to Amy Porter, a pantry board member who lives in town, only 36 of the 46 requests for coats of specific sizes could be filled last year. In 2010, she said, five residents asking for coats went without.
“Especially in New England,” she noted, “a warm winter coat is as important as food.”
The Holliston Pantry Shelf serves 156 families, or 356 adults and children. According to Porter, the number of clients is expected to rise as dollars are stretched farther for holiday gift-giving.
Even now, she said, there are “unheard of” shortages of staples at the food pantry. Needed items include pasta; canned tomatoes (whole, crushed, paste, and sauce); canned chicken, tuna, and turkey; peanut butter; cereal; coffee; cookies, crackers, and snacks; paper goods; and toiletry items such as shampoo, toothpaste, and toothbrushes.
The pantry uses monetary donations to purchase fresh produce and dairy products.
“It’s heartening that we can do this for our neighbors,” Porter said, “but sad to think that more than ever they need us.”
GUEST OF HONOR: Joyce Bohnen of Newton will be honored by MetroWest Jewish Day School, for both her role as its founding admissions director and her continuing volunteer service, during the school’s annual Celebration of Community gala. It takes place at 2 p.m. Dec. 2 at Gann Academy, 333 Forest St. in Waltham.
A self-described “day school junky,” Bohnen was a teacher at the Maimonides School in Brookline, headed the recruitment committee at Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton, and helped find the first head of school at the New Jewish High School of Greater Boston (now Gann Academy). She was also director of recruitment for Camp Ramah in New England, an overnight summer camp in Palmer.
Bohnen joined MetroWest Jewish Day in 2002, the year before it opened its doors to K-8 students. She retired in 2008 to spend more time with her grandchildren, but continues to volunteer and advocate for the Framingham school.
“I care very deeply about it, and I really want it to succeed,” said Bohnen. “It’s a gem of a school and a very special place, and something I’ve been extremely proud to be part of.”
LEARNING BY LISTENING: Lexington Community Education is hosting two lectures in addition to its schedule of courses in the next few weeks.
On Nov. 28 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lexington Depot, Robert Darnton, director of the Harvard University library, will present “Digitize, Democratize: Libraries and the Future of Books,” on how the challenges facing books in an increasingly digital age can be resolved. Educated at Harvard and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, Darnton is the author and editor of more than two dozen books, including “The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future.” Continued...