By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Westborough – The Westborough Civic Club is celebrating its 40th anniversary while preparing to fundraise with a Christmas tree sale for as many years. Members and guests met for dinner at the Grille in the Westborough Country Club several weeks before the Saturday, Nov. 28, delivery of 1,500 Canadian balsams, garland and over 500 wreaths to the former Tufts Machine lot at 53 East Main St. Among the dinner guests was Selectmen Chair George Barrette.
“A smile always comes to my wife’s face when we drive by the Tufts lot right before Thanksgiving, and see the trailer and tree stands being put in,” he said. “That officially puts the Christmas spirit in the Barrette household.”
Barrette commended club members for 40 years of community service.
“As a selectman, I have to see my neighbors at their most vulnerable, like a lot of you folks do,” he said. “The work done by the Civic Club at the Food Pantry, Community Harvest in Grafton, St. Luke’s Giving Tree, Assabet Valley Pastoral Counseling Center, just to name a few, allow those in need locally to have a better quality of life.”
Entertainment at the dinner was provided by musicians of Symphony Pro Musica, an organization the club sponsors. In addition to donating annually to about 35 nonprofit organizations, the club regularly contributes toward specific causes. Adam Boyce, the club president, shared why he’s involved.
“What drew me to the Civic Club is that you can actually see where your money is going firsthand,” he said. “Since our founding, it’s estimated that we’ve contributed close to $1 million back to the community. For such a small group, we make a great impact.”
Last year’s tree sale once again paid for many sponsorships including: a team in the Trivia Bee to benefit the Westborough Education Foundation; the second annual Turkey Trot to support district-wide technology initiatives; Thanksgiving dinner for residents who otherwise might not have a traditional meal; and “Screen on the Green,” a free movie screening at Bay State Green.
Five scholarships were awarded to WHS graduates. For the second year, a scholarship was also awarded to a Westborough graduate from Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough.
New this year, the club answered a request by Chief Alan Gordon to partner with the Westborough Police Department to better deal with the recent rash of heroin and opiate overdoses. The club donated funds for Narcan, which temporarily reverses overdose effects.
Other new fulfilled requests include an AED for the Westborough Public Library (WPL) and a 72-inch television to replace a broken one at the Westborough Senior Center. The club contributed to Best Buddies and Equal Voices at WHS; the Appalachia Service Project sponsored by the First United Methodist and St. Luke Evangelist churches; Entrepreneur Greenhouse, which meets at WPL; and the Westborough Tot Lot Committee, which is fundraising to build a playground at Bay State Commons.
Last year, the club was challenged with only 26 days to sell 1,500 trees, so it was well-promoted in advance. Handling publicity once again is Steve Hart, vice president, who was volunteering when the last of the trees were sold a few days before Christmas Eve.
“We were pleasantly surprised and hope to achieve that again this year,” he said. “We need to raise the money to continue giving back to the community by helping good causes and we’ve been successful at it for 40 years.”
Scheduled to help club members with the tree setup are members of WHS hockey and football teams, and Boy Scout Troop 4.
Beginning Saturday, Nov. 28, sale hours will be weekdays 1 to 9 p.m., and weekends 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Santa will greet shoppers most weekend days. Sales will continue until everything is sold, up to Thursday, Dec. 24.