What’s Happening on Main Streets

By Richard Rouse/Special to the Gazette

Wholesome food occupied many of the activities on Main Street over the past month. Healthy eating was never my strong suit. However, I’ve finally resolved to lessen my global footprint one day at a time. If you were among the throng who gathered at Sheehy Park on Sept. 22, your palate experienced how tasty nutritious eating can be. Mission Hill Health Movement, Main Streets, Sociedad Latina and the Tobin Community Center hosted their 2nd Annual Healthy Food Festival with an array of hearty items, approved by the Brigham and Women’s dietary staff, from the menus of local eateries.

Lilly’s Pasta, Mama’s Place, Flann O’Brien’s, Mike’s Donuts, Mission Bar and Grill, Green T Coffee Shop, Wok N Talk and Penguin Pizza outdid each other in making the day a success, along with fresh produce from the Thursday farmers market stand Gary’s Too. The morning rain transformed into a gorgeous New England autumn afternoon with representatives from Beth Israel Deaconess and Boston Children’s Hospitals manning tables. Whittier Street Health Center staff and Mass. College of Pharmacy and Health Science students offered health advice. Community groups from the Collaborative for Food & Fitness, Cooking Matters, the Latino Health Initiative and Boston Vegetarian Society gave demonstrations. Sociedad provided the music while professional masseuse Christine Rose demonstrated her talents and Star the face-painter magically transformed children’s faces into their favorite creatures. Even the branch library offered low-price books for sale, which added to the hometown village atmosphere of the day.

All of the participants were incredibly supportive and upbeat, and a special thank you goes to Blue Cross Blue Shield for its generous donation. Judging by the comments I overheard, next year’s event will be bigger and better.

Sticking with the healthy eating theme, Mayor Menino visited Stop & Shop at One Brigham on Sept. 26, promoting the supermarket’s program to improve inner-city children’s eating habits. Stop & Shop’s resident dietician, Julie Menounos, will be offering classes and workshops on a regular basis at their Boston stores. It seemed that half the residents of the Hill came by to greet the city’s longest serving chief executive. Hizzoner stayed around to talk with everyone after the news cameras left the event. This is when you truly appreciate the secret of Mayor Tom’s longevity, as he happily bantered with a store full of his constituents. This skill can’t be learned from textbooks at Harvard’s Kennedy School. It comes from a lifetime of public service.

You may have heard there’s an election this year!  Mission Hill Main Streets partnered with neighborhood favorite Dorothy Scheeline and her volunteer group called Mission: The Hill to register new voters on National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 25. The effort based at Mission Bar, Penguin Pizza and Lilly’s Pasta far surpassed the group’s goals. Due to the success of the drive, plans are underway to conduct additional registrations on the 6th and 13th of October. If you want your voice to be heard, you must be registered to cast your vote on Nov. 6. For more information, see missionthehill.weebly.com.

Keep your calendars clear for Mon., Nov. 19 for the Savor the Flavors of Mission Hill event at the Richard Griffin Building at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. This year’s honorary chairman is Mayor Thomas Menino, and Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez has agreed to emcee the event. Tony O’Brien reports there is no truth to the rumors of local merchants vying to wrest his “Golden Broom Award” title for the district’s cleanest storefront, dropping cigarette butts and litter in front of his Flann O’Brien’s pub. Such behavior will not be tolerated! This year’s Savor will feature a recognition for the most attractive neighborhood institution and the “Great Neighbor Awards” recognizing those wonderful folks who help to make Mission Hill such a special place.

The writer is the executive director of Mission Hill Main Streets.

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