DORCHESTER (CBS) — Bags upon bags of toys lined the walls of the Catholic Charities Teen Center in Dorchester Saturday, just waiting to be distributed by volunteers to more than 400 kids for Christmas.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Police Commissioner William Evans, and Cardinal Sean O’Malley were all on hand to carry out a Christmas Eve tradition started 23 years ago by the late Mayor Thomas Menino.
“You see a lot of families in need, but you see a lot of happiness,” Mayor Walsh told WBZ-TV’s Nick Giovanni. “It’s important. Boston’s about tradition. This is a great tradition that you see over the years, the kids wanting to see the Mayor, and seeing the church come together.”
Some kids walked away with fresh shoes, while others rolled out on skateboards, or drove away remote-controlled cars–all collected by Menino’s family.
“It was just something he did on Christmas Eve, he came here and did it, he didn’t tell anybody,” said Mayor Menino’s daughter, Susan Fenton.
Following his father’s lead, Tom Menino, Jr. says spreading some holiday cheer and giving kids a reason to smile is key to Mayor Menino’s legacy living on.
“You’d see kids run up to his car, he’d pull up and they’d run up to his car, they always wanted to say hi to him,” said Tom Jr. “That’s what made him happy.”
“Now, my two grandchildren and I will be happy,” said one woman whose grandchildren received gifts at the event. “It helps a whole lot, it helps very much, and I really appreciate it.”