Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

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This duckling is swimming along with a parent on the Charles River.

Tiffany stained-glass windows

The Tiffany Education Center at the Arlington Street Church, 20 Arlington St. offers self-guided tours with an audio guide as well as docent-guided tours. Experience the resplendent beauty and history of the 16 Tiffany opalescent stained-glass windows – the largest Tiffany window collection of its kind in any one church.

The visitors center will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays (closed Tuesdays). Group tours are also available.

common art: ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ exhibition

The virtual exhibit – “Fruit of the Spirit” – organized by Unbound Visual Arts in partnership with the common art program, will be on view through Tuesday, Aug. 31 at “Unbound Visual Arts: common art” exhibit. All works – including paintings, sculptures, stained glass, jewelry, drawings, writings, and other crafts – are available for sale.

common art, a program of common cathedral, offers a creative space, art supplies and pastoral support to unhoused and low-income individuals to explore their artistic abilities within a spiritual community. They are also served breakfast and lunch.

While access to art lessons and creative materials are vital to their program, the true soul of common art is being a resilient, diverse and inclusive congregation that learns together. During the pandemic, they focused on and consciously practiced “The Fruit of the Spirit” – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) – to affirm and remember that their purpose as a congregation is to be supportive of each other.

This is who they are, and they will continue to be common art with hearts and doors open to all.

All are welcome to join them from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St.

Lions and Tigers and French, Oh My!                                          

Adventurers, join the French Cultural Center from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 24 at the Franklin Park Zoo in French. The French native speaker guide from the zoo, Audrey will reveal les secrets du zoo and answer all your questions. The group will meet at the Zebra entrance at 10:15 a.m.

Tickets allows people to arrive at 10 a.m. and stay as long as they wish after the tour.

Visit for more information and registration (Member: $26; Child - 12 and under: $22 | Non-Member: $32; Child, 12 and under: $26).

We Sing: Boston                                                                   

The Boston Children’s Chorus, in partnership with the Friends of the Public Garden, will host "We Sing: Boston" - a summer series of community singing events in parks throughout the area.

 “We Sing: Boston” invites community members of all ages and skill levels to join in singing, games, prizes and socializing (following COVID guidelines) from 2 to 3:30 p.m. as follows:

– We Sing: Chinatown – Chin Park on The Greenway, Surface Road and Beach Street –

Saturday, July 24 and Sunday, Aug. 15 

– We Sing: Dorchester – Town Field, 1545 Dorchester Ave. - Sunday, July 25 and Sunday, Aug. 8

– We Sing: Mattapan – Hunt-Almont Park, 40 Almont S. – Saturday, July 31

– We Sing: Roxbury – Clifford Playground, 160 Norfolk Ave. – Sunday, Aug. 1 

– We Sing: Chelsea – 8 Clark Ave. – Saturday, Aug. 7

– We Sing: Mattapan – Harambee Park, 930 Blue Hill Ave. – Saturday, Aug. 14 

This summer series will culminate with a special, city-wide event on the Boston Common in September.

Visit for more information and a link to register for each of the events.

Barre en français                                                                 

Exercise your body and vocabulary at the French Cultural Center.              

French instructor Chloé Mizuta will guide participants in a barre class that focuses on strength, core stability, flexibility, muscle control, posture and breathing from 9 to 10 a.m. on Monday, July 26 via Zoom.

All levels of French and barre are welcome.

Visit for more information and reservations (Member: $8; Non-member: $12).

One World 2021 (virtual)

The Mary Baker Eddy Library’s 16th annual One World program – a series of free art and cultural events for children, ages 4 to 12 – will be held online from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays through Aug. 17.

Each week participants will learn about a different corner of the globe with cultural activities from the nations of Mexico, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Philippines, Aotearoa (Māori, the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand), Greece and India. Events will include live performances, arts and crafts, storytimes, and other fun.

Visit for more information and registration.

The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights

Author Dorothy Wickenden will talk about the fascinating and crucial stories of abolition, the Underground Railroad, the early women’s rights movement and the Civil War – told from the perspective of three remarkable and impactful women – Harriet Tubman, Frances Seward and Martha Wright – from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27.

Presented in partnership with the Boston Public Library, American Ancestors/NEHGS and the State Library of Massachusetts.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Community Read Book Group: ‘Fair Play’                      

The Community Read Book Group for Adults will meet from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27.

The librarian will moderate the discussion of Fair Play by Tove Jansson.

Best known for the beloved children's series “The Moomins,” Jansson reveals more of herself in this series of connected short stories about the love and shared artistic life of two creative women. 

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Free guided tours on the Esplanade                                                          

The Esplanade Association will offer free guided walking tours on the Esplanade to share the park’s amazing stories, plants, trees and wildlife. Guided walking tours will last about an hour-and-a-half and cover roughly a mile of the Esplanade and more than 150 years of history.

The 2021 Guided Tour Program Schedule:

– Guided Gardens Tour at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 28

– Guided Tree Tour at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 25

– Guided Bird Tour with Feminist Bird Club at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8

– Guided History Tour at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22 and at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16

– Guided Art in the Park Tour at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6

Visit for more information and registration.

LRC: Communicating with Care                                                               

People may want to communicate with others in such a way that they gain knowledge and bridge divides, but those conversations don’t always come naturally. Most people struggle to self-evaluate their communication skills and they might be unaware of words and actions that shut down healthy dialogue when discussing divisive issues.

Join this facilitated living room conversation from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28 to actively share and explore what works and what doesn’t and to reflect on ways that everyone can improve their interactions with others.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

NABB Walking Tour of the Back Bay

The Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NABB) will host a walking tour of Commonwealth Avenue Mall at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28. The tour will last about 90 minutes, followed by a gathering (optional) at the Summer Shack.

Visit for more information and registration.

Americans with Disabilities Act Celebration: Boston

Boston Mayor Janey invites everyone to celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with

Disabilities Act and reconnect with the disability community from noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 29 at Copley Square Park and on Zoom.

ADA Celebration Day was developed for people of all ages and all abilities to come together a celebrate a milestone in the disability community. This event will feature food, music, a civic engagement fair, community, friends and more.

A COVID-19 vaccine clinic will be held 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments and walk ups welcome. Visit to learn more.

For more information, visit Wheelchair accessible - ASL and CART provided.

Gibson House Museum tours

The Gibson House Museum, 137 Beacon St. is a time capsule of domestic life from the mid-19th to early-20th centuries.

– The Museum will be open for tours at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Fridays through Sundays

– New Specialty Tour – Upstairs, Downstairs: Domestic Service at the Gibson House

will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 29.

Explore the lives of the young, Irish immigrant women who worked in domestic service in the Back Bay. Rarely seen spaces, including the coal shed (the last surviving coal shed in Back Bay) and the fifth-floor servant bedroom will be on view.

Visit for more information and reservations (prices vary).

Family Book Group: ‘The Best at It’                                             

The librarian-moderated Family Book Group will meet from 4 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 29 to discuss the July Community Read – The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy.

Actor Maulik Pancholy draws from his own experiences in his debut novel about 12-year-old Rahul Kapoor, an Indian-American boy growing up in small-town Indiana who struggles to come to terms with his identity, including that he may be gay.

Go to for more information and Zoom registration.

‘Age of Acrimony: How Americans Fought to Fix Their Democracy, 1865-1915’

Democracy was broken. Or that was what many Americans believed in the decades after the Civil War. Shaken by economic and technological disruption, they sought safety in aggressive, tribal partisanship. The results were the loudest, closest, most violent elections in U.S. history, driven by vibrant campaigns that drew the highest-ever voter turnouts.

At the century's end, reformers finally restrained this wild system, trading away participation for civility in the process. They built a calmer, cleaner democracy, but also a more distant one. Americans' voting rates crashed and never fully recovered.

In telling the tale of what it cost to cool the republic, historian Jon Grinspan will reveal this country’s divisive political system's enduring capacity to reinvent itself from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 29.

Register for Zoom at

Ciné-Club Online Discussion: ‘Deux’ (‘Two of Us’)

Ciné-club at the French Cultural Center will discuss the movie Deux (Two of Us) from 6 to 6:40 p.m. on Thursday, July 29. Discussion in French.

The movie is available to watch on Hulu (general subscription) at your leisure

Filippo Meneghetti’s first movie, Two of Us, is an incredible exploration of what it means to love and be loved in return.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration (Free; any Donation is greatly appreciated).

‘Skip the Small Talk’ at Trident:  LGBTQIA+ Speed-Friending

Do you wish you could have more of the kinds of conversations you have late at night where for some reason, you feel safe talking about the things you care about?

“Skip the Small Talk for LGBTQIA+” at the Trident Booksellers and Café, 338 Newbury St. will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, July 29.

The hosts will offer cards with “big talk” conversational questions to get started, and there will be lots of structure to make sure that participants actually talk to people and that it’s not awkward.

Visit for more information and registration ($16.50).

‘Ask The Expert: Pickling’                                                             

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced pickler, connect with expert Karen Solomon, author of Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It, at “Ask the Expert” from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, July30.

Bring Solomon all of those fermenting questions and learn tips on how to become a pickling expert.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Concerts in the Courtyard Series: estudios719

Join the Boston Public Library for a contemporary vocals performance by estudios719 from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, July 30 in the Courtyard of the Central Library in Copley Square.

A mix of Latin, contemporary and Broadway vocals, Millie Rivera of estudios719 is fully costumed and ready to go.

An acapella program combining innovation with traditional songs, from the 1940s to now, Rivera 's benchmark is quality and economy.

The program will also be broadcast to the BPL YouTube channel.

Visit for more information.

Free August Adventures with Highland Street Foundation

The Highland Street Foundation will partner with special Massachusetts cultural institutions to provide one free activity each day for 31 days in August. Here is a list of the Boston venues:

Aug. 1: Commonwealth Shakespeare Company

Aug. 10: The Greenway Carousel

Aug. 12: Museum of African American History

Aug. 17: Institute of Contemporary Art/ ICA Boston

Aug. 18: Boston Children's Museum

Aug. 28: Out of the Park, Boston Red Sox & City of Boston

Aug. 31: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

For safety reasons, many of the participating venues have limited capacity and are requiring advanced registration.

Available spots are distributed on a first come, first served basis.

Visit for a downloadable August Adventures calendar, links to the venues and more information.

River Fit: Lynx Saturday Workouts

Instructors from Lynx Fitness Club will lead participants through an hour-long high intensity interval training (HIIT) class that incorporates bodyweight strength training with high-intensity cardio bursts for maximum calorie burning effect, set to fun and upbeat music from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 24 through Aug. 14 on Fiedler Field on the Esplanade, part of the River Fit Summer Fitness Series.

Register at

Saturdays at Stoneman 

Join the Esplanade Association and Boston Music Project at the Stoneman Playground on the Esplanade for family-friendly music and movement programming for children and families of all ages.

Saturdays at Stoneman sessions will be 45 minutes long and take place on the hour from 10 a.m. to noon through Aug. 21.

Each week, children will sing songs, dance to music, and enjoy storytime led by trained Boston Music Project teaching artists. Caregivers are encouraged to attend and take part in the music games with their children.

Visit for more information and tickets.

Monday Mettā                      

Join Rev. Kim at the Arlington Street Church at noon on Mondays for a half hour of loving kindness meditation. She will give brief instructions, and the group will join in sending loving kindness to ourselves and to the world. No meditation experience necessary.

Join with video at or participate by phone by dialing 929-436-2866. For either option, the meeting ID is always 895 886 6876.

Gay Men's Coffee Connections

Gay Men's Coffee Connections will meet at 5 p.m. on the first and third Monday of the month.

Feel free to listen or engage in discussion about experiences as gay men.

Visit for more information, including the week’s discussion prompt and the Zoom link.

BPL’s New Parent Group                                                                           

The Boston Public Library’s New Parent group will meet from 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays through July 27 for an informal – and informative – program for families with infants, birth to 12 months.

It’s a great way to meet other new parents and learn from guest speakers.

Visit for more information, including a weekly speaker/topic and Zoom registration.

The Buddhist book discussions and meditations

Buddha's Belly and Arlington Street Meditation Center (feel free to come to one or both) will meet via Zoom on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

6 p.m. Buddha's Belly: a book discussion group that explores a variety of books from Buddhist teachings. All are welcome.

7 p.m. Arlington Street Meditation Center: these gatherings include seated meditation, a brief reading from Buddhist teachings, and conversation. Beginners and experienced meditators from all traditions (or none!) are warmly welcome.

Visit for more information and links to attend.

River Fit: Sunrise Yoga with B/SPOKE

Join the Esplanade Association for Sunrise Yoga with B/SPOKE from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on Wednesdays through Sept. 8 on Fiedler Field on the Esplanade part of the River Fit Summer Fitness Series.

B/SPOKE Yoga is a vinyasa based practice for all levels with an emphasis on music that ebbs and flows with each portion of the class. Each class will begin with guided breath work and end with a mindful moment that will allow you to take the intention of class into your life. Bring a Yoga mat, if desired.

Register for River Fit at

Adaptive Sailing for Youth & Young Adults 

Adaptive Sports New England and Community Boating, 21 David Mugar Way, invite youth and young adults with a visual impairment and/or mobility impairment to sail from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays through Aug. 25.

No experience is necessary. Participants can bring a sibling or friend along.

Registration is required at or contact

Kundalini Yoga Class

Experience fun exercises and poses, breathing techniques, chanting, meditation and deep relaxation in this unique class at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Moving energy through your body brings positive change and growth.

There is a $10 charge that goes to the Arlington Street Church.

Email for Zoom access. All are welcome.

A safe space for people of all colors

If you identify as a person of color, Old South Church invites you to a time of connecting, a moment of breath, a reprieve from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month. The group is open to people of all ages.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

River Fit: BollyX on the Esplanade

Join the Esplanade Association for River Fit: BollyX from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays through Aug. 12 on Fiedler Field on the Esplanade, part of the River Fit Summer Fitness Series.

Experience a Bollywood-inspired, dance fitness program that combines fun choreography and calorie-burning workouts, with upbeat music from India and beyond. All levels are welcome.

Register for this program at

Virtual Jazz Coffee House                                                              

The Virtual Jazz Coffee House, featuring the Willie Sordillo Ensemble, will be livestreamed from the Old South Church in Boston from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays at

Music for Food concert series                                                         

In this time of crisis, neighbors who experience food-insecurity are among the hardest hit. In lieu of their regular concerts, Music for Food is presenting online performances to support multiple food pantries.

A weekly series of videos will be released at noon on Fridays on MFF’s YouTube Channel ( Each video features MFF Artists and friends from all over the world.

Friday Night Trivia

Trident Booksellers & Café, 338 Newbury St will host a weekly Trivia Night from 7 to 9 p.m. on Fridays.

The event will feature seven rounds of general knowledge trivia with a few wildcards along the way (follow on Instagram to get a sneak peak of the evening's categories) and excellent prizes for the top three teams. 

Visit for more information.

LGBTQ Catholics Unite monthly meetings                                              

LGBTQ Catholics Unite meetings are held virtually at 1 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of the month. The meetings provide an opportunity for LGBTQ Catholics and friends to gather and openly discuss relevant topics, scripture, and current events and share faith experiences, thoughts, beliefs and feelings.

Hosted by the St. Cecilia Rainbow Ministry, they hope that all LGBTQ+ Catholics will know that “God loves you, God created you, God is on your side, Jesus cares about you, and the church is your home.” All, including allies, are welcome.

For more info on how to connect via Zoom, email

Swan Boats operating

Enjoy a ride on the Swan Boats as they sail the waters of the Boston Public Garden. Swan Boats drivers will paddle passengers around the Public Garden Lagoon for a peaceful, 15-minute cruise.

Summer hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Labor Day

Visit for more information and reservations (Tickets: Free to $4.50).

Community Boating kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals

Community Boating offers an opportunity to view Boston from an angle rarely seen. Rent a kayak and explore the Charles River Basin and Frederick Law Olmstead esplanade lagoon system while enjoying breathtaking views of historic Back Bay, Beacon Hill, MIT and the Zakim and Longfellow bridges. Available through Sunday, Sept. 26.

Two-hour kayak (single or tandem) and stand-up-paddle-boards rentals are available for $32 per person plus taxes and fees. Membership includes kayaks and SUPs at no cost (not including Wicked Basic Sailing Pass).

Visit for more information and registration.

Boston Open Market at Copley Square

In partnership with the Friends of Copley Square, New England Open Markets will operate the Boston Open Market - a new weekly arts market held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays through Nov. 27.

Visit for more information.

Copley Square Farmers Market

The Copley Square Farmers Market – Boston's biggest and busiest farmers market featuring more than two dozen Massachusetts farmers offering a vibrant selection of local and delicious produce and meat – will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays through Tuesday, Nov. 23.

Accepts: SNAP, HIP & Nutrition Vouchers

Lyric Stage To-Go: ‘The Walking Plays’                          

Let your imagination soar as you journey through Boston alongside these vivid characters and stories in The Walking Plays:

The six audio plays include On Paying Attention by David Valdes; Monster in the Sky by Ginger Lazarus; Kill the Dogs, Knock Them Over! by Liana Asim; In Any Face by Miranda Austen ADEkoje; Living Water by Melinda Lopez and Micah Rosegrant; and Monstrat Viam by Patrick Gabridge.

Visit for more information and access to the plays.

BB Mom’s Group

The Mom’s Group is being revived for Moms in the Back Bay to meet and connect. Their goal is to offer support and be a resource for local Moms. When possible, outdoor events will be planned. 

For more information on joining, send an email to:

Future Readers Book Club/Events

The Boston Public Library hosts the Future Readers Club for children, ages five years and younger, and their caregivers, with a goal of reading 1,000 books together before the child begins kindergarten.

Register at to keep track of the books you read together and earn badges for your young milestones at

In addition, the BPL offers an assortment of programs as part of the Future Readers Club to engage children in stories, songs, finger play and crafts.

Visit for more information and registration to each event.

BPL reading challenge                                                        

The Boston Public Library invites readers throughout the city to participate in “Reading Together.” In the challenge, each month has a distinct theme and participants are asked to read a book tied to the theme.

The library offers recommended book lists for the monthly themes for adults, teens and children at Participant patrons can track their progress as well.

Visit for more information.

Genealogy for the next generation                                                 

Several free, easy-to-do fun activities that will keep kids entertained and get them thinking about their family history are available at

These exercises are designed to teach critical skills while encouraging kids to explore their personal connection to the past. Studies show that young people who know facts about their heritage have a stronger sense of self, which can help them perform better in school and life.

Big Sister mentoring                                                                                    

Since 1951, the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston continues to make and support one-to-one mentoring relationships between thousands of women and girls each year.

The Big Sister professional staff matches a girl between the ages of 7 and 15 with a woman who is at least 20 years old, based on shared preferences and interests and continues to provide (virtual) support and guidance to each Big Sister, Little Sister and Little Sister’s family.

To learn more about how to become a Big Sister or to enroll a girl to become a Little Sister, visit

Boston Ballet videos                                     

Enjoy a variety of behind-the-scenes videos, virtual choreography, performance clips, and articles on along with exclusive, ballet videos posted Mondays through Fridays at and/or

Support Boston Ballet at

Free meals/food resource information                               

Boston Eats will provide free nutritious breakfast and lunch to city kids and youth – 18 years of age and under – through 2021. No ID or registration required.

Visit or phone 1-800-645-8333 for a list of meal locations. A list of food pantries and soup kitchens, along with other information is also included.

Visit for a list of current food pantries, food closets, food banks, soup kitchens, congregate meal locations, food boxes, vouchers, etc.

Contact Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 800-645-8333 if you need additional food resources.

Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen                                                      

The Back Bay Mobile Soup Kitchen BBMSK (“Bumsk”) is a group of young adults who minister to the homeless on the streets of Back Bay. They distribute sandwiches, fruit, socks and Rosaries and take time to listen to the stories of the men and women they encounter.

The group meets at 6 p.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays on the front steps of the St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine, 1105 Boylston St.

They are always looking for donations (money/gift cards, toiletries, socks, and supplies) and volunteers to help prepare and package the food.

Contact Eli at 703-638-2019 or visit for more information.

BostonWarm/common art and common cathedral programs need help           

The drop-in center, BostonWarm; the art program, common art; and common cathedral, all under the umbrella of Ecclesia Ministries at Emmanuel Church (15 Newbury St.), needs partners to help them serve the increasing number of homeless and underserved during this critical time.

There are three specific ways that you can help make a difference:

1) Purchase supplies from BostonWarm and common art Amazon wish lists.

2) Donate individually wrapped homemade or purchased sandwiches, soft fruits, granola bars and water.

3) Donate your time, your treasures (donations) and your prayers – they are always welcomed and valued.

Visit for other information, including links to keep this mission alive.

Friday Night Supper Program needs servers, donations

The Friday Night Supper Program (FNSP) at the Arlington Street Church – the longest running program in Boston – has served more than 13,000 meals a year to more than 130 guests from all over Boston since 1984.

Donations make a difference in the lives of people in need, whether through philanthropic dollars or individual gifts of money, clothing, toiletries and gift cards.

FNSP is also looking for help to serve the onsite and “to go” meals.

Visit for more information.

Support Women’s Lunch Place                                         

Women’s Lunch Place, 67 Newbury St. continues to serve women while maintaining all three of their core services areas – healthy meals, direct care and advocacy.

WLP is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday to Saturday serving breakfast and lunch along with essential care packages.

Women’s Lunch Place needs donations – money, gift cards, toiletries, underwear and other basic necessities – to keep their mission going.

Visit for more information.

Support the Esplanade Association                       

The Esplanade is the stretch of public green space that extends for three miles one way along the Boston shore of the Charles River from the Boston Museum of Science to the Boston University (BU) Bridge.

In addition to providing a beautiful natural landscape, the park is home to the iconic Hatch Memorial Shell, various historical monuments, recreational facilities and more than five miles of pathway for walking, running or biking.

Please consider making a donation to the Esplanade Association to help keep the green space thriving and the activities alive. All donations are tax deductible and people can use any means to send their support, including Donor Advised Funds.

Visit for more information and links to donate.

Support the parks – give the gift of membership                                                  

Give the gift of membership to ensure that the beloved parks – the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall – remain icons of Boston and continue to receive the protection, care and management that they need.

Donations can be made at