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Independent Thoughts: Local sisters treat troops with Halloween haul

by | Nov 21, 2023 | Featured, Featured: Features

Hopkinton sisters Aadya and Rishvi Namagalla show off the candy they collected

Hopkinton sisters Aadya and Rishvi Namagalla show off the candy they collected for the New Hampshire National Guard this past Halloween.

For most kids, raking in nearly 500 pounds of Halloween candy would be a dream.

Two Hopkinton sisters did just that — amassing 487 pounds of goodies this Halloween — but it wasn’t for their consumption (much to their dentist’s relief, undoubtedly). This marked the third year Radhika Namagalla’s daughters, 10-year-old Aadya and 6-year-old Rishvi, collected candy as part of Treats for Troops. Partnering with a nonprofit called Ekam USA (ekamusa.org), the girls sent the candy to individuals with the New Hampshire National Guard.

The idea arose after the children realized they had more candy than they needed.

“We have a lot of candy ourselves in the house after Halloween, and the kids were super excited to find that they could donate it to a good cause,” Namagalla said. “They really want to go ahead and do something for the troops.”

Two years ago, the girls collected about 100 pounds of snacks. Last year, they upped the total to over 300 pounds via a two-week drive. This year, despite holding their collection for just a couple of days, the girls surpassed the past two years’ total combined.

“We had wonderful partners in Hopkinton,” Namagalla said, noting contributions came from people at Hopkins School, the Hopkinton Center for the Arts and Next Generation Children’s Center, as well as Fay School in Southborough, the Russian School of Mathematics in Shrewsbury, Goldfish Swim School in Milford and Christian Family Montessori School in Holliston. “And friends and family,” she added.

The girls plan to continue the collection next year, and Namagalla is proud to see them working to help others.

“I love taking part in community-based endeavors, and I wanted my kids to have the same mindset from a young age,” Namagalla said. “They do a lot of other initiatives, but we as a family love to be a part of this, mostly because it’s for the troops.”

Weston Nurseries owners

Weston Nurseries owners Peter (left) and Wayne Mezitt accept a plaque from Hopkinton Garden Club representative Jina Kessler.

Garden Club honors Weston Nurseries

The tributes continue to come in for Weston Nurseries on its 100th anniversary. At its October meeting, the Hopkinton Garden Club honored the Hopkinton institution. Jina Kessler, the longest-serving Garden Club member and a former Weston Nurseries employee, spoke of the many ways the company has supported the Hopkinton community over the years through education and beautification, including being part of the Chamber of Commerce Gateway Green initiative and supporting the gazebo project on the Town Common. Weston Nurseries also donated and planted a tree on the Town Common in memory of two young Hopkinton girls who died in a house fire.

The Garden Club, calling Weston Nurseries “a partner in [the] mission to educate, beautify and foster sustainable gardening and conservation efforts,” presented owners Peter and Wayne Mezitt with a plaque.

“Weston’s continued support within the community does not go unnoticed,” the Garden Club stated.

Model effort at Town Meeting

Kudos to Town Clerk Connor Degan for doing a masterful job as moderator at the Nov. 13 Special Town Meeting. He was all business, keeping speakers on time and on topic. The electronic voting system, likewise, was quick and efficient, minimizing any potential delays.

The only issue I heard about was parking. It didn’t help that the solar canopy installation project takes up about 50 spots in a prime location, next to the side entrance to the middle school. Tim Persson of Buildings and Grounds shares that the work is expected to continue into January, then the contractor will shift farther up the lot to work on that section.

One other Town Meeting note: The vote for no action on Article 4 came as a bit of a surprise. Apparently, the town did not have the free cash available to make the purchase of property near Town Hall that it would like to turn into more parking. So, the item was shelved for the time being.

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