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Norfolk/Wrentham - Local Town Pages

Wrentham Volunteer Alliance: Better Together

The Wrentham Volunteer Alliance has been hard at work decorating the downtown for the holidays.

Group Plans December 12 Holiday Event for Downtown

By Grace Allen

Helen Keller once famously said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” The powerful quote by the one-time Wrentham resident could be a fitting motto for the Wrentham Volunteer Alliance, a group formed in November of last year.

Selena Zubrowski was named Wrentham’s Volunteer of the Year at the November 15 Special Town Meeting. Zubrowski is a member of the Wrentham Volunteer Alliance, the Landscape and Memorials Committee, and the Sohoanno Garden Club.

The Wrentham Volunteer Alliance includes members from several different organizations and clubs throughout town. The group works alongside town government with the goal of bettering the downtown area and public spaces in town, as well as improving life for the residents of Wrentham.

“There has to be a public-private partnership between the town and the volunteer community to get things done,” said Rebecca Zitomer, the coordinator of the Wrentham Volunteer Alliance. “No one thing should land on one particular group. It really needs to be a collaborative and community effort.”

Sweatt Park is just one of the areas in downtown Wrentham that is being transformed with the help of the Wrentham Volunteer Alliance.

Open to all volunteer groups in town, the Wrentham Volunteer Alliance currently is made up of members from the Landscape and Memorials Committee, the Cultural Council, the Lions Club, the Sohoanno Garden Club, the Holly Club, and the Recreation Committee.

Zitomer, a member of several town boards and volunteer groups, sees the benefit of town groups working together under one umbrella for big projects and events around town. By sharing volunteers and resources for a common goal, more can be accomplished.

In a short period of time, the results have been noticeable. Plantings and landscaping in public areas downtown have kicked up a notch. Sweatt Park, the hidden gem in the center of town, has come into its own, with even more improvements planned for the future. 

And that’s not all. This month, the Wrentham Volunteer Alliance will kick off what the group hopes will be the start of an array of outdoor cultural events for residents. On Sunday, December 12, a family-friendly afternoon of music is planned for the downtown and common areas. Music groups from King Philip High School will perform from 2 to 4 p.m., while Victorian carolers will stroll around from 4 to 6 p.m. Other musical surprises are planned, too. Parked on the common will be an antique truck with a Christmas tree in the back for family photos, and Santa Claus may also make an appearance. Food and hot beverages will be available on the common from Crosby’s Coffeehouse.

If you missed the town’s tree lighting ceremony on November 28, be sure to drive by after dark. A professional lighting company, Christmas Décor by Curb Infusion, has been hired by the town to transform the common for the holidays. Spearheaded by the alliance, the lighting display was funded by the town this year with COVID federal relief funds to help local businesses, said Steve Langley, Vice Chairman of the Board of Selectmen.  

“It was not just to brighten the holidays, which we can all surely use, but more importantly as a vehicle to lend support to the businesses of Wrentham that have suffered so much during the pandemic,” said Langley, who has been working with the alliance. “They are such an important part of the well-being of our community and trying to help them out is paramount to a vibrant Wrentham.”

Zitomer says the Wrentham Volunteer Alliance’s long-term goal is to hold family-friendly, cultural events in the downtown area several times a year as a way to bring the community together. Plans are already in the works to host an ice sculptor artist and serve hot chocolate on the common in January, while the holiday lights are still up.

The town common, after all, is historically significant in New England. In addition to being a location where commerce took place, it was also a gathering place for townspeople. The fact that Wrentham is coming up on its 350th anniversary in 2023 has been further impetus to bring more community events to the downtown, said Zitomer, who noted the pandemic has made outdoor spaces more important than ever.

Selectman Langley agrees.

“I see more use of our public resources like the common, Sweatt Park, and other areas,” he said. “We have spent a lot of time, effort and money for their upkeep and as a town leader, I would like to see them used as often as possible. I think that one of the things most of us missed during COVID was the ability to congregate, and because of that, there is now a newfound, or re-found, desire to hang out together. The creation of events that this group will focus on will be integral to recapturing that spirit and fostering it for a long time.”

He added, “We have so many wonderful people in this town that do amazing public service, whether on a town committee or service organization. Individually, each group has added so much to the town’s beauty and character. Now, you take those volunteer-minded individuals and groups and band them together--I can’t even imagine the possibilities.”

The Wrentham Volunteer Alliance meets quarterly. For more information or to join the group, email [email protected] or visit the Wrentham Landscape Committee page on Facebook.