Lots of seasonal excitement in Mt. Airy, extending into the New Year!

There are special programs at many of our local houses of worship, holiday events from our local cultural organizations, and opportunities to help people in need. We’re listing holiday events on our website calendar (www.eastmountairy.org) as we receive information about them, so check the website regularly for updated information. Still shopping for gifts? Remember that there are local businesses that would really appreciate your patronage. You can find boutique apparel, books, bikes, flowers, gourmet and healthy foods, beauty and fitness gifts, art and crafts from local artists and gift certificates from an amazing variety of restaurants.

The folks at the Trolley Car Diner are in the middle of what we all hope will be another successful Winter Coat Collection, (through January 16th), and Valley Green Bank’s Book Drive is in full swing, at both the Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill branches, (through the end of the year)…………..two easy ways to help others by donating gently-used items you don’t need anymore. How nice that these 2 community-minded businesses found an eco-conscious way to help others!

New, unwrapped toys are still being collected at Lutheran Seminary, for distribution to needy children through the Salvation Army. The collection box is located at the Welcome Desk in the Brossman Building. You can also donate a new, unwrapped toy to the “Toys For Tots” campaign --- there are collection boxes at all city fire stations.

A reminder: This is the last week that your bagged leaves can be collected for recycling by the City. They must be in the brown paper bags made for this purpose. Leaves bagged in plastic bags will be collected, but won’t be recycled. The leaf collection takes place on your regular trash day.

Speaking of recycling, if you’ll be having a “real” Christmas tree this year, EMAN is hosting a “tree-cycling” event on Sunday January 8th. From 1 till 4, you can bring your tree to Gabbie’s Community Garden, on Chew Avenue, just below Mt. Airy Avenue. All decorations and ornaments must be removed, (and please note that trees should not be dumped there ahead of the event). The trees will be recycled into wood chips. (The City doesn’t recycle the trees it picks up by the curb.) A $5 fee/donation will be charged.

Also in January, two events in partnership with our sister organization, West Mt. Airy Neighbors: Our annual Joint Community/Board Meeting, January 10th at 7 PM, will focus on crime and crime prevention in our neighborhood. A number of experts will discuss the problem from their particular office’s point of view. Currently scheduled are: D.A. Seth Williams; Captain Joel Dales of the 14th Police District; Knight Sor, U.S. Department of Justice community relations specialist; and a representative from the FBI’s community relations division. The meeting will take place in Hagan Amphitheater on the campus of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, at 7301 Germantown Ave. We’re also joining on Wednesday evening, January 25th, at the Arden Theatre (40 N. 2nd St., at Market), to see the final dress rehearsal of “Clybourne Park”. This joint fundraiser is made possible by the generosity of the Arden Theatre and Arden Board members Bob and Nancy Elfant, who recommended EMAN and WMAN as beneficiaries. Borrowing themes from “A Raisin in the Sun”, the play tells the story of a house and the people who have come and gone through half a century of changes and gentrification in the neighborhood. Many of the regular performances for this show are already sold out, so this is a great opportunity. Ticket prices are $25 each, $20 for paid members of EMAN and WMAN --- a considerable discount from the Arden’s regular ticket prices. There’s nearby parking, and the Arden is easily accessible by public transit. E-mail to info@eastmountairy.org for ticket info.

AND……If you like to plan ahead, EMAN will be joining the Martin Luther King Day of Service event being organized by Mt. Airy USA and Trolley Car Diner. We’ll be working at A.B. Day Elementary School at Crittenden and Johnson Streets, from 8:30 till noon on Monday, January 16th. The Diner will be providing refreshments and MAUSA will have t-shirts for registered participants. For more info and to register, go to http://tinyurl.com/mtairymlkday

Unfortunately, not everyone is filled with holiday spirit………….Please be aware that there has been an increase in crime throughout Northwest Philly. The uptick has been going on since Spring, and has shown a marked increase with the holiday season. Burglaries have been reported in every part of Mt. Airy, (and there have been some confrontational thefts as well). Without trying to scare everybody, here are some common-sense suggestions: While you are shopping or at public events, be aware of your surroundings and keep your wallet as inaccessible as possible. Hold on to your pocketbook, briefcase, shopping bags --- whatever you’re carrying. Do not leave packages in full view in your vehicle; put them in your trunk. Whether at home or out-and-about, do not leave electronics visible in your car. This includes laptops, GPS devices, i-Pods, etc. Lock your door at home, and if you have an alarm system, use it. Do not leave valuables, gifts, etc., where they can be seen by a burglar. If you see suspicious activity, call 9-1-1 immediately. Keep in touch with neighbors. If you’ll be away for the holidays, let a trusted neighbor know, and arrange for someone to deal with your mail and newspapers.

EMAN’s membership campaign continues……………..you can join (using PayPal) at our website (www.eastmountairy.org and click on “membership”). If you appreciate these newsletters, please show that appreciation by supporting us! If you’re already a paid member, please consider a tax-deductible, end of the year gift. We can only continue our work in the community with your help.

This is a season of light for many faiths and cultures, and Mt. Airy is noted for residents and businesses that believe in spreading that light and warmth. It really is a great place to live and work!

All of us at East Mt. Airy Neighbors wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a happy, prosperous New Year, filled with love, good health and friendship!