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Wrentham Developmental Center Holiday Party Set for Dec. 8

Dec 01, 2017 03:02PM ● By Pamela Johnson

Santa, a little elf, a WDC resident, and student volunteers at the 2016 Christmas Party

For 48 years, Dan and Sue Ranieri have coordinated a Christmas Party for 50 physically and mentally handicapped adult residents of the Wrentham Developmental Center (formerly known as Wrentham State School), and, while a lot of things may have changed over the years, the community’s involvement has continued to grow beyond expectation.
One big change that happened last year was that the party was moved to the Wrentham Developmental Center (131 Emerald St., Wrentham) instead of the Bellingham  Middle School. “Because of the increasing age of our guests, more and more are confined to wheelchairs,” Sue explained. Having to transport them to us was becoming more difficult so we are taking the party to them.”

It will be held this year on Friday, December 8, and Vendetti Motors has graciously agreed to donate school buses to transport volunteers. The buses will leave the Middle School  at 4 pm for a 4:30 arrival in Wrentham. Any parents that are available to volunteer and help with additional transportation are very welcome in order to ensure that all students have a ride.
As in the past, the success of this party 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 set-up and clean-up tasks.

“There are now second- and third-generation volunteers attending and remarking to us that their parents and grandparents helped out years ago,” Sue noted.

Over 150 Bellingham Middle School students recruited by teacher Scott McDonald, along with boy scouts, girl scouts and other students from Bellingham and area towns, will again participate in this special evening. The empathic and heartwarming relationships that develop between the youth and their mentally and physically handicapped guests are ones that both will remember always.

This year, the staff at WDC will prepare the traditional macaroni dinner for the guests, but Bellingham will supply desserts, so volunteer bakers are needed. (Anyone interested in baking desserts is asked to contact Sue Ranieri at 508-883-1477.)  Entertainment will once again be supplied by DJ Richie Hayward, who so generously donates his time each and every year. 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, all personalized for each of their needs and requests; all are supplied through donations from area businesses and residents, civic organizations, and the young volunteers in attendance.

“We would love to have you join us at this new venue to witness the wonderful job our youth are doing, interacting with their special guests. You will see first-hand how your contributions have made this special holiday tradition such a memorable occasion for everyone involved,” said Sue. “We thank you for your consistent support in the past and greatly appreciate any help you can provide to make this year’s party as successful as previous ones.”

Donations and volunteers are always needed to help with the preparations and are crucial to the success of this event. Any individual or organization interested in making a donation, or any adult or youth wishing to attend, should contact Sue at 508-380-1643 or 508-883-1477. All contributions can be mailed or delivered to 5 Reservoir Dr., Bellingham, MA 02019. (Please make checks payable to Suzanne Ranieri.)





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