by Arianna Neromiliotis

Teenagers, Inc., St. Vincent DePaul Society and Face to Face are teaming up again to show some love from Chestnut Hill to our neighbors in Germantown.

It’s November and that means those familiar glass jars will start appearing in stores once again.

This year they got a little face lift and new signage, showing all the organizations involved. However the history of these jars and the lives they changed is quite the story.

Chestnut Hill has become home to so many holidays: Halloween, Christmas, and that small but powerful holiday in between the two, Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a constant reminder for people to be grateful for what they have, and how the idea of helping a person or group of people during the holidays has made an enormous difference in their lives.

Did you know that those jars have been gracing Germantown Ave. for more than two decades? Mrs. Jean Dwyer, or “Bobo” as everyone in Chestnut Hill knew her, started this pie drive by moseying up and down Germantown Avenue, asking everyone to bake a pie for St. Vincent DePaul Church’s Thanksgiving Dinner, which benefits the economically disadvantaged people in Germantown. Those who couldn’t bake a pie donated handsomely instead to collect as many pies as possible for this community feast. The first year, Dwyer collected 200 pies.

As the years went on, the numbers of pies and amount of donations grew bigger and bigger. Her partnership with Our Mother of Consolation’s Society of St. Vincent DePaul and Teenagers, Inc. became an integral part of the fabric of how we teach our youth to give back. Face to Face, a multi-services nonprofit in Germantown, hosts a family style Thanksgiving every year, a tradition that brings people together from all different places to remind them of all there is to be thankful for, including being a part of a community.

When Bobo passed away a few years ago, Marianne Dwyer (her daughter-in-law) took over the operation and kept the momentum going with the teens of Teenagers, Inc. by her side. The teens would go store to store and ask the store owners to place those infamous glass jars in a prominent place in their store.

The soup kitchen, now known as The St. Vincent Dining Room, feeds approximately 350 hungry men, women and children each year. This year they plan on feeding up to 225 people (double the amount they’ve had in the past) on Thanksgiving Day between 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.

It’s that time of year again and our Teens will be out and about distributing the jars through Chestnut Hill. We need you, our community, to fill them up with change. Donate change to make change. So head out to Germantown Avenue, find your favorite participating store, and help St. Vincent’s host the best Thanksgiving dinner ever.

If you would like to donate a pie, please deliver it to Our Mother of Consolation Parish Center, 7 E. Chestnut Hill Ave. or Janine Salon De Coiffure, 8432 Germantown Ave. on Tuesday, Nov. 25 or Wednesday, Nov. 26. They will be accepting pies until 11 a.m.

St. Vincent DePaul is located on 109 E. Price Street Philadelphia, PA 19144.

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