Apple pie has made a whole new set of friends for Justin Frasca.
Every Sunday, the 10-year-old Haverhill boy helps deliver pie to about 25 residents of the Hannah Duston Healthcare Center on Monument Street.
"It's something I just really like to do," he said.
Justin, a fourth-grader at Pentucket Lake Elementary School, started delivering pies in February when his grandfather Joe was a patient at the nursing home.
When Justin was visiting him one Sunday, he noticed that one resident's daughter was baking apple pies for the residents.
He asked if he could help deliver the pies and he enjoyed the experience so much that he's done it every week that he's been available to do so.
Most of his deliveries are apple pies but occasionally there's a change in the menu, as there was last Sunday when Justin brought strawberry shortcake to the residents.
"He always has a smile on his face," said his mother, Barbara Frasca. "Every Sunday, he reminds us that it's apple pie day and he urges us to go."
His grandfather has since returned to his home, but even though Justin now has no family at the nursing home, he still shows up to help deliver pies or another dessert each Sunday.
He has made a special bond with one of the residents.
Irving Karelis, 91, of Haverhill lives at the home and does not have much family living in the area since his wife died early last year.
Karelis looks forward to Justin's weekly visit.
"He just loves to help out people," said Karelis. "It's all about helping people out here. We talk sports and he comes back and reports to me what he's been doing."
Karelis will often talk about his baseball career. A Haverhill native, he was a minor leaguer in the Red Sox system in 1946 and 1947, pitching for the Lynn Red Sox.
Justin, in turn, tells Karelis about how he is doing in his youth sports. Justin plays baseball, hockey and football.
"I've become one of his closest friends," said Justin. "I'm one of the only ones who comes and visits him."
Barbara Frasca said it's special that her son has come to understand the importance of connecting with others at such a young age.
"It's nice to see him visit some of the men there and make his own new friends," said Frasca, adding that she and her husband Neil "are very proud of him."
Justin's efforts were recognized when the principal of his school talked about his good deeds over the school loudspeaker.
"All the kids just looked at me funny," said Justin.
Perhaps they should take his lead instead.
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