250 turkeys donated to feed city homeless

by Beacon Staff • November 29, 2006

Before the greedy rush of Black Friday set in this past weekend, the holiday spirit helped feed Boston's homeless. Roche Brothers Supermarkets and St. Francis House joined forces to fight hunger in the city. Roche Brothers donated a total of 250 turkeys to St. Francis House on Nov. 15.

The donation was organized by the More to Share program, a charity that works with hunger-fighting organizations around the nation to provide for people in need, according to Shawn Steward, the program's spokeperson.

The charity works with Cargill Incorporated for the donations of the turkeys, which produces Shady Brooks Farms turkeys, according to its Web site.

"We want people to know Shady is interested and involved in the community," said Steward. "We work with grocery partners and select the markets that are the best."

The charity finds supermarkets that sell Shady Brook Farms turkeys for the donation. This year the program is working with Roche Brothers Supermarkets. This is the first time Roche Brothers has been involved with More to Share.

St. Francis House, located less than a block from the Little Building on Boylston St., is a nonprofit, nonsectarian day shelter, providing clothing, food, job skills training and transitional housing, according to its Web site. It also provides medical care and substance abuse counseling and rehabilitation. This is the first year that St. Francis House received the donation from Roche Brothers.

When the turkeys were dropped off, Shady Brook Farms provided more than just meat.

Steward said the company offered hats, aprons and banners to use at the event.

"It is very gratifying to work on," said Steward.

"This program takes it to a whole other level," Steward said. "It feels good helping people who need it."

On Thanksgiving, 75 lbs. of turkey arrived at St. Francis House. Leah Bloom, development communications assistant at St. Francis House, said 100 frozen turkeys were split between Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas dinner. The remainder will be used for prepared meals.

This was the first year that Roche Brothers and St. Francis House worked together to provide for the hungry in Boston.

"This was very generous," Bloom said. "The holidays can be difficult without the support from friends and family."

More to Share also encourages others to donate to hunger fighting charities.

"We use our donations to challenge other corporations to do what they can to fight hunger," Steward said. "We communicate through publicity or events for people to join in with us. Hunger is an ongoing problem and charities always need food."

Bloom said her organization was thrilled to receive the turkeys.

"It sounds small but it makes a big difference," Bloom said. "It helps give people the strength to help more."