West Roxbury effort aims to feed those in need

Groups, police handout dinners

Dozens of Boston-area families and seniors were given Thanksgiving groceries Tuesday from Family in Need, a program organized by three West Roxbury organizations and the Boston Police Department.

For the past 15 years, a list of needy families has been compiled by the police, the West Roxbury Business and Professional Association, the West Roxbury YMCA, and Ethos/AgeWell West Roxbury. The group then worked with Roche Bros., which provided discounted groceries for the families, said Mary Mulvey Jacobson, president of the West Roxbury Business and Professional Association.

The group ensures that each family gets not just a turkey, but also the makings of a holiday feast.


“There’s an apple pie, gravy, a bag of onions, potatoes, everything you would need for a Thanksgiving dinner,” Mulvey Jacobson said. “We all meet at Roche Bros. at 9:30 a.m. and then start doling out the deliveries.”

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But delivering turkeys to families is not always enough. The group has arranged special accommodations for those in their community with unique needs.

“An elderly woman just came home after having colon cancer surgery and said she couldn’t prepare or lift a turkey,” Mulvey Jacobson said. “So I talked to the manager [of Roche Bros.] and explained the situation, and they cooked a turkey for her. She was so ­delighted that someone would take the time to care.”

Now that the Thanksgiving groceries have been distributed, the volunteers will start collecting donations for Christmas and will adopt a few families who may need a little extra help around the holidays.

“One year, somebody made a very generous donation of $500 for families with children,” said Mulvey Jacobson, adding that the money went toward new clothes for the children.


Another year, the YMCA cleared the day-care debts of a mother of three who was in a ­financial bind.

“We definitely depend on the community to help pay for the groceries,” she said. “It ­always seems to come together.”

Donations for Christmas groceries can be made to ­“Family in Need” and mailed to the West Roxbury Business and Professional Association, P.O. Box 320113, West Roxbury, MA 02132.

Sarah N. Mattero can be
reached at sarah.mattero@