Flannel Shirt Fridays Fundraiser Benefits Mayor’s Fuel Fund

LEOMINSTER — City Hall staff recently launched a fun way to raise money for the Mayor’s Fuel Fund by incorporating a New England staple through Flannel Shirt Fridays.

Residents, businesses and organizations are invited to participate by wearing whatever flannel they have on Friday, including shirts, dresses, scarves, etc., and donating $5 or $10 or more to the Mayor’s Fuel Fund. Donations can be dropped off at the Mayor’s office at City Hall; fundraising will continue all winter.

“It’s a fun way to engage people and raise funds,” Mayor Dean Mazzarella said, noting that the first week they did it last month, City Hall staff and some local businesses have raised $300 wearing flannel. “People can have fun and do something that’s going to be useful, and this year is definitely going to be tough.”

Leominster Hall staff recently launched a fun way to raise money for the Mayor’s Fuel Fund by incorporating a New England staple through Flannel Shirt Fridays. Roots Natural Foods joined Mayor Dean Mazzarella’s live daily update on October 28th. (Left to right) Roots owner Mazzarella, Marieke Cormier, Roots leader Kevin Williams, Leominster Economic Development Coordinator Amanda Curtis and Twin Cities Rail Trail Association volunteer Joyce Léger. (Courtesy ROOTS NATURAL FOODS)

The community-wide effort is a play on casual Fridays, where jeans are typically worn in the office. Mazzarella suggested that attendees “put up a little sign and let people know what you’re doing,” which will also help spread awareness about the fundraiser.

Roots Natural Foods team members donned flannel when Mazzarella stopped by the Crawford Street business for his daily live update on October 28 and the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster posted a TikTok video the same Friday showing smiling staff members in flannel prints.

Mazzarella said he came up with the idea while thinking “of a way to involve and engage people”.

And of course, the flannel keeps you warm, so it’s a win-win, especially since there are more and more mornings these days with frost on the ground and the winter cold is approaching .

“They’re stylish,” the mayor said of the flannel shirts before adding that he bought some more last year for his collection and is surprised when people tell him they do not have.

“I thought everyone had a flannel shirt, I thought that was a requirement for living in this neighborhood,” he said.

The mayor announced the fundraiser with a Facebook post on Oct. 27, which drew dozens of reactions and several comments. One woman wrote “Count me in! while another joked: “I work from home…. Flannel underwear, okay? »

All kidding aside, the Mayor’s Fuel Fund is an essential helping hand for those struggling to pay their heating bills during the colder months. Tens of thousands of dollars for the fund have been raised through the annual Tree Festival, which will be launched at City Hall on November 21, since both were started in 2006 by Mazzarella.

Leominster Hall staff recently launched a fun way to raise money for the Mayor's Fuel Fund by incorporating a New England staple through Flannel Shirt Fridays.  The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster released a video of staff happily wearing flannel on October 28, including (from left) Caitlin Roy, Alondra De La Paz and Sasha Duenas.  (COURTESY BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF FITCHBURG AND LEOMINSTER)
Leominster Hall staff recently launched a fun way to raise money for the Mayor’s Fuel Fund by incorporating a New England staple through Flannel Shirt Fridays. The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster released a video of staff happily wearing flannel on October 28, including (from left) Caitlin Roy, Alondra De La Paz and Sasha Duenas. (COURTESY BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF FITCHBURG AND LEOMINSTER)

City residents can apply for fuel assistance from early November through April, or whenever the fund runs out, and receive up to $300 in assistance each year from the fund which distributes $30,000 in total on average per season.

Mazzarella said they screen candidates to make sure the money “gets to the right people” and they deal directly with several local fuel companies to pay the bills. With the current price of oil in the region hovering around $5.50 a gallon at press time, he said “this year is going to be a lot tougher” for people – which they are more than happy to to help.

“This year people are going to suffer,” Mazzarella said. “Food, inflation, rent. It’s a way to help people get through the season.

City Hall staff hope people prepare to participate in Flannel Shirt Fridays and come back with donations in the coming weeks. For more information on this and the Mayor’s Fuel Fund, stop by Leominster City Hall at 25 West St. downtown or call 978-534-7500.

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