The Derby Street Shoppes in Hingham is pooling their resources yet again this holiday season to help the Germantown Community Center in Quincy.
The Shoppes have been a partner of the YMCA-supported center for years, and every year holiday fund-raising efforts go to support the organization, which provides a food pantry, career closet, and job training for those in need.
“This year they reached out because they desperately needed funds to help the families in their area,” said Niamh O’Maille with the Derby Street Shoppes. “A lot of the funding has been reallocated to different non-profits, so they were in need of funds to help families pay for their heating bills – they contribute a lot of funding to the local families each winter. They also need help with a food pantry, they put food together for families for the holidays and they put gifts together.”
The increased need this year inspired Derby administrators to put out a call to all the area merchants to offer some sort of special in addition to hosting fund-raising events on their own.
The effort starts tonight, with visitors asked to make donations for the free hayrides around the mall area.
On Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m., Magic Beans will donate 10 percent of its sales to Germantown.
The store will also hold a toy collection at that time. Customers can come in, buy an extra gift, and donate it there.
Barnes & Noble also helped raise money for the organization by gift-wrapping purchases for customers for a donation.
‘We are delighted to have stores including Magic Beans and Barnes & Noble supporting this worthy cause by hosting events and generously making a contribution,” O’Maille said.
Customers have also been dropping donations in the box provided at the Little House by Kohl’s – contributing to the overall effort.
Although O’Maille said there wasn’t a fund-raising goal for the amount of money, and couldn’t recall what previous years garnered, Germantown Neighborhood Center Executive Director Kathy Quigley said every little bit helps.
“Donations aren’t where they used to be; it's very, very low,'' Quigley said about the organization's overall fund-raising.
"When someone will come in and say how the food pantry is doing and we think good, but we go in and realize not so good. It’s hard to keep up, and it’s very trying this year. You’ll find that from anyone in this business. There are more individuals that need assistance. There’s not enough to go around,” she said.
Despite the ever-growing need, Quigley said the support of organizations such as Derby Street Shoppes make all the difference in the world.
“People who are helping to bring all these efforts together, business, individuals, we appreciate it tremendously. There’s no way we could do it on our own. Having Derby help us out is going to be great, and hopefully people will really get into the spirit of giving,” she said.
Donations gathered now are also useful to the center year-round for an array of programs, including the youth programs, a women’s initiative, an adult learning center, and a mentoring progam for high school students.
Although most of the holiday giving will be done with the community center in mind, Derby Street Shoppes will host fund-raisers throughout the year in an effort to give back to the community – one of the prime goals of the organization.
“All of the events we host, we keep the community at the center.,” O’Maille said. “We’ve always had a policy of fund-raising for different groups, we partner for different groups and non profits in the area.”
The hayrides will take place on two Tuesdays, Dec. 13 and Dec. 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. around the Derby Street Shoppes. For more information, click here.