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St. Mary's Feast Society distributing toys to families in need

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The Executive Board of the St. Mary’s Feast Society, located in the Knightsville section of Cranston, has again announced a community giveaway event to benefit the less fortunate during the 2020 holiday season.

This time, instead of Thanksgiving turkeys, it involves toys for less fortunate children. This is the second time in a month that the society, whose main mission is to conduct a feast for the Blessed Mother during the month of July, has organized a charitable event for the needy of the community.

Feast Society president Matthew K. Volpi noted how proud he is of the society’s work this year.

“Our feast was basically canceled this year due to COVID-19. But our society is resilient,” Volpi said. “This year we are bringing people to our corner of Phenix Ave for a much different reason. A couple of weeks ago it was for a turkey, and this coming week, it is to bring smiles to the faces of children who are less fortunate.”

He added: “Our society and executive board continue to feel that our community should be on the forefront of our minds, especially this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for so many families this Christmas. If our society can ease some of that burden and create a festive Christmas morning for some children that would otherwise be unable to have one, we are proud to do so.”

The event was spearheaded and organized by the sergeant at arms of the Feast Society, Ryan J. Nardolillo. Nardolillo, who is a funeral director at Nardolillo Funeral Home, said that after seeing so much grief this year, and witnessing first-hand the pain of many families struggling to deal with many ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, he had to step up and get this event organized for the betterment of the community.

“People can’t even grieve normally because of the situation the world is in,” he said. “People need an excuse to smile, and the children need the most support of everyone. Even if just a handful of kids smile because of what we are doing, it’s all worth it.”

But as he looked at the mountain of toys being organized in the Society Hall, he added: “I think there will be a lot more than ‘just a few’ that are positively affected.”

Christopher E. Buonanno, treasurer of the Feast Society and a co-sponsor of the event, said that Nardolillo raised upwards of $5,000 for this event, with more toys slated to be donated in the final days leading up to the giveaway.

“Ryan single-handedly solicited about 35 local businesses raising over $5000. Every penny of that money is going to purchase toys that will be given away to young children who are less fortunate,” Buonanno, the father of two daughters ages 4 years and 9 months, said. “There’s nothing like the look in the eyes of an excited child on Christmas morning opening a gift. Every kid on earth should experience that joy. The work Ryan has done here will bring that joy to so many kids. This is an event for which we can all be proud.”

The giveaway event will take place at 4 p.m. on Dec. 20 at the St. Mary’s Feast Society headquarters, located at 15 Phenix Ave. in Cranston. It will be a contact-less drive-thru event.

Participants should wear a mask and socially distance when attending the giveaway. Toy donations of unwrapped and unused toys can be dropped off to the Feast Society building (at the above location) any afternoon until 6 p.m. Monetary donations can be made for the cause as well at that location or on the society’s Venmo account. (@StMarys-FeastSociety).

For more information, visit the Facebook page for the society at www.facebook.com/stmarysfeast.

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