In the midst of a grand tour of Needham on Thursday, Democratic candidate for Congress Mac D'Alessandro met with members of the Needham Community Council, relating that the type of work they were doing encouraged him.
"In this country, communities should want to provide these kinds of services to their communities; they shouldn't have to," he said of the Community Council, relating that the Needham group fell into the former category.
D'Alessandro spoke extensively with Sandra Robinson, Community Council executive director, and Debbie Winnick, Director of PR and Development, about the role that the Community Council plays in Needham.
"We touch most people's lives in Needham in some manner," Robinson told D'Alessandro, citing the group's work with ESL tutoring, the nursing home boutique, lending out medical equipment and the child assault prevention program, among others. "Most of our programs have nothing to do with income; it's an intermittent need."
D'Alessandro toured the Community Council's headquarters on Lincoln St., getting a firsthand look at the library and the downstairs thrift shop, where he admired a shirt that one of the volunteers had hung against the wall. While meeting the volunteers in the food pantry, D'Alessandro joked that they would need to keep him out of reach of the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies.
D'Alessandro is hoping to win votes for the Ninth District in Massachusetts as a primary against fellow Democrat Stephen Lynch approaches. In addition to taking to the Community Center, D'Alessandro also toured Hillside Gardens on Great Plain Ave. before having lunch with seniors at the Stephen Palmer Center and visiting with shop owners in the downtown area.
"One of the things that always concerns me until I come to places like this," D'Alessandro said, "is that we've turned into an ownership society, as in, you're on your own, everyone for themselves. But then you get motivated and inspired when you see people, mostly volunteers, coming together to support one another."