SALEM — From its humble beginnings inside the generous soul of Charlie Walsh, the leprechaun who used to run Carlton School, the Salem Children’s Charity has grown into one of the city’s most cherished institutions.
Over the last five years alone, it has raised more than $100,000, every penny of which has gone to children and families in need. The money pays for summer camps, after-school programs, gift cards at Christmas, support during emergencies and more.
Most of that money is raised at the annual Christmas party, which will be held Tuesday night starting at 5 at Victoria Station, the Pickering Wharf restaurant that does itself proud every year by opening its doors for this good cause.
The place will be packed, so get there early and stuff your pockets with cash. There are more than 100 auction and raffle items, including golf packages at Salem Country Club, Kernwood and Salem Municipal.
The $15 admission gets you appetizers, a big buffet and a chance to rub shoulders with celebrities.
It’s a great crowd of aging athletes, caring cops, pontificating politicians and talkative teachers, all with big hearts.
The Children’s Charity got off to a running start this week at the retirement party of school administrator Christine Fernandes, who donated her retirement “gift” to the charity. That gift represents the money collected from fellow teachers and staff, which often totals several hundred dollars.
Moments after Fernandes made her surprise announcement, her husband, Bernardo, announced that he would match it. What a nice present.
’Tis the season
There must be something in the air this month because Salem is outdoing itself in thoughtful and generous acts.
On Wednesday night, Collins Middle School held a beach party to raise funds for the American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy relief fund.
This was only one of several local efforts to help out victims from New York and New Jersey. Pretty impressive.