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New Locale for WDC Christmas Party

Dec 05, 2016 10:53AM, Published by Pamela Johnson, Categories: Business, Municipal, Life+Leisure, Today, Community, Schools


Santa and friends, 2015



 It has been 47 consecutive years since Dan and Sue Ranieri began coordinating Bellingham’s Christmas Party for 50 residents of the Wrentham Developmental Center (WDC), a home for physically and mentally handicapped adults, formally known as Wrentham State School. A lot of things have changed over the years, but the community involvement has continued to grow beyond the couple’s greatest expectations. 

The big change this year is that the party will be held at the Wrentham Developmental Center, 131 Emerald St., instead of Bellingham Memorial Middle School. Because of the increasing age of the residents, more and more are confined to wheelchairs, and transporting them here has become more difficult. 

    “We are taking the party to them on Friday, Dec. 9,” said Sue. Vendetti Motors has donated two buses to transport volunteers; the buses will leave the middle school at 4:15 pm for a 5 pm arrival in Wrentham. Any parents who are available to volunteer and help with additional transportation would be much appreciated so that we can make sure all students have a ride.”

    The success of this party always depends on the generosity of volunteers and the business community, who have always been willing to help make Christmas a little brighter for those less fortunate.

“Since its inception in 1970, many of the original helpers are still with us, either preparing the food, making donations, wrapping gifts or helping with the setup and cleanup,” Sue explained. “We have many second- and third-generation volunteers attending.”

    Over 150 teenagers recruited by middle school teacher Scott McDonald, boy scouts, girl scouts and other students from the Bellingham area will participate in this special evening. The caring and heartwarming relationships that develop between the youth and their guests will be remembered by all.

 This year, the WDC staff will prepare dinner for the guests, but desserts are needed. Anyone willing to bake should contact Sue (508-380-1643 or srani327@aol.com). DJ Richie Hayward is again donating his services. The highlight of the night is the arrival of Santa, portrayed annually by a member of the Ranieri Family. Each resident will receive numerous gifts, personalized  for each of their needs and wants, all supplied with donations. To volunteer or donate, call Sue Ranieri at 508-883-1477.



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