After a month of planning with help from about 100 volunteers, Dorchester residents touched by the Boston Marathon bombings gathered this afternoon to jump in moon bounces, paint, eat, and raise money for the One Fund for bombing victims.
The daylong event, called Hometown Comfort, included outdoor events on the blacktop behind the IBEW Local 103 hall in Dorchester.
A group of neighborhood residents — business owners, nonprofit employees, parents, and friends — has been meeting every Sunday and Wednesday since April 21, six days after the bombings.
“We’re all affected by this thing, and our friends were hurt in the bombing,” said Chris Stanley, a resident of Dorchester’s Ashmont Adams neighborhood who helped coordinate children’s activities for the event. “And we wanted to do something. It keeps us busy, keeps our mind off our grief.”
Planning the event provided an outlet for neighborhood residents. Some know the family of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old Ashmont Adams boy killed in the bombings. Others were shaken by the attacks and then cooped up in their homes when officials strongly suggested that residents stay indoors as police searched for bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Watertown on April 19.
“Everybody was in grief, and shock, and angry,” said Chris Douglass, the chef and owner of Ashmont Grill and Tavolo restaurants who has lived in Ashmont Hill since 1987. “Then people got into a ‘do’ mode, and this is a very ‘do’ community.”
The event continues this evening: From 6 to 9 p.m., there will be food from local chefs, live music, and an auction inside the IBEW hall hosted by Tom Ashbrook, host of NPR’s “On Point” from WBUR Boston. Tickets are $75 a person, or $50 for those who donate blood.
Organizers said they expect one of the auction packages, a chance to toss a football with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at the team’s training camp this summer, to be the most coveted. Other items include Boston Bruins tickets donated by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, an Apple iMac, iPod Touch, and iPad Mini, and tickets to the Boston Strong concert at the TD Garden.
State Senate President Therese Murray, who grew up in Dorchester and now lives in Plymouth, will serve as auctioneer.
Organizers said they are hoping to raise about $500,000 for the One Fund, set up after the Marathon bombings to help victims and their families pay for medical bills and other expenses.
Douglass said he was unsure they would meet the goal, but hoped to raise a significant amount.
“At the end of the day, I hope we can write a fat check for the One Fund,” Douglass said.