NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

O’Neil Cinemas gives back to communities

Going to the movies is a time-honored tradition during the holiday season and the family-owned O’Neil Cinemas, located at The Point in Littleton, Massachusetts and in Brickyard Square in Epping, New Hampshire, not only provides a state-of-the-art cinema experience it also practices another age old tradition of giving, especially to the communities it serves
The O’Neill family, who hail from North Andover, not only founded and operate two theaters, they also have built an organization called O’Neil Cinemas Cares which gives back to local Southern New Hampshire and Eastern Massachusetts communities through donations, scholarships and local charity events. They have partnered with both local and national organizations including: The United Way of the Greater Seacoast, The Salvation Army, Seacoast United, Cocheco Valley Humane Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Hampshire, Operation Blessing, to name a few.
Each year O’Neil Cinemas has partnered with the American Red Cross as part of the O’Neil Cinemas Cares program. In the past, the theater has hosted two blood drives, one during the holiday season on Christmas Eve, and one in March to honor Red Cross month.
O’Neil Cinemas affiliations with local charities has been immeasurable, but due to last year’s Coronavirus pandemic, the theaters were forced to shut their doors and like many other businesses were pushed into uncharted waters. Despite the devastating setback, moviegoers were welcomed back on May 7, 2021, implementing all the safety guidelines needed to keep theater guests free from the virus.
As far as their charity work and dedication to the community, it’s safe to say it will be slowly returning.
Jen Desmarais, Operations Manager of the Littleton branch of O’Neil, stated in an interview that “We are still aligned with the Red Cross and the United Way. In the past we have worked with and have donated to countless schools, organizations, fundraisers, etc. When Covid arrived in March 2020, we closed our doors and did not reopen until May of 2021. During that time donations were discontinued.  We are pleased to announce we will begin donations again starting January 2022.”
Incentives such as discounts for seniors and military members are available as well as Bargain Tuesdays in which matinees are only $6.50.
As an employee, since the inception of the Littleton theater in 2017, it was fantastic just to stand in the large Grand DLX Auditorium again when the theater reopened last spring. Hearing the booming sound effects, and smelling the buttery scent of freshly made popcorn, it was like catching up with an old friend. It has been a slow comeback, but here we are back in a time of giving, and although the charity service’s return has been delayed, patrons can give back to O’Neil by going to the theater to see some of the newest blockbusters this holiday season that have been waiting to find themselves on the big screen.