Grant Follow-Up from RE Committee

In November 2017 the RE Committee applied for a grant offered by First Parish Church United which fit the Church and Outreach theme “Who is MY Neighbor and How Can I/we help? We learned about an opportunity to support a program run by the Lowell Wish called ‘B.I.T.s Bags (Basic Items for Toddlers) whose mission spoke to us. In this program social workers who visit families in need carry bags filled with age appropriate items for toddlers: board books, bubbles, rubber duckies, stacking toys, etc. so that they may offer these essential, yet basic items which encourage play, fine motor skill development, language development, understanding of cause and effect, the list goes on!

Our students in the RE program range in age from toddler to high school and are exposed to a variety of developmentally appropriate activities and experiences. The idea and concept of Neighbor is an important one to the RE program and building an understanding of ‘neighbor’ is part of the K-2 curriculum. By learning about and supporting other children, just like themselves, who are our ‘neighbors’ even our youngest RE students will be able to make a connection to the mission of helping other ‘little kids’ have access to the ‘fun’ toys they themselves had access to as little tikes.

Through the generosity of our church awarding us with a grant for $400, along with donations from members of our church and our community, and the collection of coins as RE children ‘filled their buckets’ at home, we were able to fill 50 bags to go towards the Lowell Wish’s goal of 500, that’s 10%! Each colorful bag held 8 items: board book, coloring book, ‘big’ crayons, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, inflatable beach ball, rubber ducky, and a brand new interactive toy (ie stacking rings). These bags were assembled by the children on a Sunday in April and delivered to the Lowell Wish by our RE Director, Nicki Tracey, and RE Committee Chair, Jennifer Scarano, along with her two sons, Nicholas and Julian. We are all very proud of our community and the outreach we were able to do to help our neighbors.

The 43rd Annual Strawberries ‘N Arts Festival

Strawberries ‘N Arts Festival Combines Great Food, Live Music and Professional Crafts in Westford

On Saturday, June 16th, the 43rd annual Strawberries ‘N Arts Festival will take place on the Westford Town Common. Sponsored by First Parish Church United, Westford, this traditional event offers the whole family a fun day that includes high quality artwork and crafts for purchase, a wide variety of food and homemade strawberry shortcake, plus musical performances by several local groups. Admission is free and everyone in Westford and beyond is welcome to join in the festivities.

The highlight of the day for many is the serving of fresh strawberry shortcake by FPCU members. Over 350 quarts of fresh strawberries, more 1200 oversized shortcake biscuits and lots of real whipped cream are combined to create over 1000 servings of this delicious treat. Customers can begin to line up before 12:30 p.m. to partake in what for many has become an annual ritual of the beginning of the summer season. Also available are a variety of grilled food including hamburgers, hotdogs, and Westford’s favorite Hubba’s BBQ pulled pork sandwiches.

This year, the Strawberries ‘N Arts Festival has over 90 craftspeople in attendance, lining the triangular green in Westford’s historic town center. Crafts for sale this year include handcrafted woodworks, a variety of handmade jewelry, wrought iron, handpainted glassware, framed photographs and portraits & much more. Additionally there will be crafts and entertainment for the kids, and continuous music performed by several local groups throughout the common and on the Westford Common bandstand. Rain date (in extreme weather conditions only) is Sunday, June 17th.

Free parking is available at the First Parish Church United, the J.V. Fletcher Library, Roudenbush Community Center and Abbot School. Proceeds will go to the First Parish Church United, which supports a variety of local and international charity organizations through its outreach programs. For more information, please visit