by Arianna Neromiliotis

“I’m gonna put my lipstick on and hit the Avenue” – Jean “Bobo” Dwyer

What do Teenagers, Inc., OMC and Face to Face all have in common? Simple: It’s the Thanksgiving pie drive of course. It’s November, So that means those familiar glass jars will start appearing in stores once again. If those jars could talk, they would tell great stories of how a simple penny changed the life of one person or, in their case, changed the meal of one person.

Chestnut Hill has become home for many holidays – Halloween, Christmas and that small but powerful holiday in between, Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a constant reminder for people to be grateful for what they have, and that the idea of helping a person or group of people can make a difference in the lives of others

Did you know that those jars have been gracing Germantown Ave for nearly two decades? The late Jean Dwyer, or “Bobo,” as many in Chestnut Hill knew her, started this pie drive by walking up and down Germantown Avenue and asking everyone to bake a pie for the Thanksgiving dinner at St. Vincent DePaul’s Dining Room, where Face to Face, a non-profit organization, serves the economically disadvantaged people in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Those that couldn’t bake a pie, donated handsomely to get as many pies together for this community feast.

The first year, Dwyer collected 200 pies. As the years went, on the numbers of pies got bigger and bigger and so did the donations. Her partnership with Our Mother of Consolation’s Society of St. Vincent DePaul and Teenagers, Inc. grew and grew and became an integral part of the fabric of how we teach our youth to give back. Bobo and her friend and neighbor, the late Dorothy Corn, led this project for so many years.

As she grew older, Dwyer enlisted her grandchildren and members of Teenagers, Inc. and the St. Vincent de Paul Society to help deliver the jars and talk to the storeowners. Today, if you talk to her grandchildren, they will tell you what a difference their grandmother made with just two very simple concepts: spare change and homemade pies.

When Bobo passed away, Marianne Dwyer (her daughter-in-law) took over and kept the momentum going with the teens of Teenagers, Inc. by her side. Teens go store-to-store and ask storeowners to put those famous glass jars in a prominent place in their store.

St. Vincent’s Dining Room feeds about 800 hungry men, women and children each weekend. This year it plans to feed up to 250 people, which is double the amount they’ve had in the past, on Thanksgiving Day between 12:30-2:30 p.m.

It’s that time of year again. Teens will be giving out the jars, and we need our community to fill them up with change. We need 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 bring it to Our Mother of Consolation Parish Center, 7 E. Chestnut Hill Ave., on Wednesday, Nov. 2 before 11:30 a.m. Members of OMC’s St. Vincent de Paul Society deliver pies to St. Vincent’s. The Church of St Vincent DePaul is at 109 E. Price St. in Germantown.