The gift of giving: dresses, pies, and laughs

by Beacon Staff • November 16, 2005

This Thanksgiving weekend, while you're home pulling winter sweaters out of the closet, grab those old prom dresses and shoes you know you'll never use again.,There are a lot of ways you can lend a hand this holiday season. Before you help yourself to another piece of pumpkin pie, think about helping one a local organizations raise money, goods or awareness for those in need.

This Thanksgiving weekend, while you're home pulling winter sweaters out of the closet, grab those old prom dresses and shoes you know you'll never use again. Whether they don't fit anymore or you just can't bear to be seen in the same thing twice, give your old party wear to the Glitter and Glam Dress Drive (pages.emerson.edu/organizations/kappa%5Fgamma%5Fchi), sponsored by the Emerson chapter of the Kappa Gamma Chi sorority. From Nov. 28 to Dec. 2, students can drop off slightly-used dresses and accessories at the Off-Campus Student Services office or contact the sorority to schedule a pickup. The items will benefit The Fairy Godmother Project of Massachusetts, an organization that provides formalwear for girls who can't afford to buy gowns.

"We collected about 200 dresses last year," said Kappa Gamma Chi member Dunja Simunovic, a junior writing, literature and publishing major. "Basically, it is the greatest thing a girl can do for a girl-give her beautiful clothes."

Unless turkey ramen is part of your family's Thanksgiving tradition, you probably think that living in a dorm means you can't contribute much to the menu this year. Think again. You can bring dessert to your own dinner and pay for someone else's at the same time. The 13th annual "Pie in the Sky" fundraiser benefits Community Servings, an organization that delivers meals to local residents with life-threatening illnesses. For $25, you can choose from apple, pecan, pumpkin or sweet potato pies. You can place an order at www.pieinthesky.org and then pick up your goodies on Nov. 23 at designated locations in Boston and Cambridge.

"Every $25 means a week of meals for a Greater Boston neighbor in need," according to the group's Web site.

Today is the last day to preorder a sweet treat, but the Web site said help is still needed to sort, count and distribute them to pickup locations next week. Call 617-445-7777 for more information about volunteering.

These days, the retail world would like you to believe that the Christmas season starts in October, but Thanksgiving weekend is still the official kickoff of Globe Santa, The Boston Globe's annual holiday fundraiser. This year, Cambridge's Improv Asylum is teaming up with Globe Santa to present "No Rest for the Wicked Funny," a 24-hour improv-fest. The event runs from 8 p.m. on Nov. 28 to 8 p.m. on Nov 29. The actors will be performing around the clock, but you don't have to stay that long.

"I imagine most folks will come and go as they please," said show producer Michael Anastasia, who is also an Improv actor. "You only have to pay to get in once, and you will be given a bracelet that gives you access for the whole show. I'm really hoping that some folks will pull an all-nighter just to see what we are coming up with at 4 a.m."

Tickets are $10 and are available by calling the Improv Asylum box office at 617-263-NUTS.

Anastasia said the Improv hopes to raise $3,000 for Globe Santa through ticket sales and a silent auction at the event. "Essentially, those of us at the theater share the same goal as the folks at Globe Santa," Anastasia said. "We love to make people smile, and they are able to bring that to so many families when they need it most."