FRAMINGHAM – For 50 years, members of the Framingham Police and their families have been delivering meals to those in need on Christmas.
Retired Framingham Police detective Paul Kelley started the tradition and was at Lavender Too in Framingham to volunteer for the 50th one.
Kelley said years ago a former Framingham Chinese restaurant used to serve a meal to elderly senior citizens, who had no place to go on Christmas.
“If they came to the restaurant on Christmas, they were given a meal,” said Kelley. “Myself and the other police officers knew there were a lot of people who couldn’t make it (to the restaurant), so we decided to start delivering the meals. At that time, it was just the police officers in uniforms. I think the first year, we had 75 meals. Today, we are delivering over 300 meals. Now, we get police officers’ families and other volunteers to help.”
Kelley said it started as there was a need in the community.
“There still is a need,” said Kelley today to SOURCE.
Framingham Police Officer Andrew Lewis, President of the Framingham Police Association, said the number of meals delivered in 2022 was down from the number in 2020 and 2021. He thought post-pandemic more people are getting to spend the holiday with family, and not home alone.
Last year, the Association delivered more than 475 meals. This year, just over 300.
Kelley said he loves how it has become a tradition with the officers.
“See, that lady. That is Nicole Esposito. First time I saw her was many years ago. Her father Mike was carrying her into the restaurant. Now she comes every year, and bring her own children,” said Kelley.
Esposito said she continues the tradition because” I feel like “every year it’s needed more.”
Esposito said she has never missed a Christmas delivering meals.
“When you go to the homes, you truly see they need it whether it’s just a meal or just like a hello,” she said.
Many of the meals delivered on Christmas are to some of the same homes the Curtis Family Thanksgiving delivers Thanksgiving meals too, and those are a lot of senior housing and Framingham Housing Authority addresses.
“I always pick John J. Brady. It’s just a great area and they’re just so thankful,” said Esposito. “They just want a nice face and a warm meal. Sometimes you walk in and you are their Christmas. i wouldn’t miss doing this.”
Framingham Police Chief Lester Baker was at Lavender Too this morning, along with Deputy Police Chief Sean Riley with his sons.
Mayor Charlie Sisitsky and First lady Robin Kaye was there, along with City Councilors Janet Leombruno and Leora Mallach.
Framingham Director of Elder Service Grace O’Donnell, Coburnville-Tripoli Neighborhood Association President Andrea Dunne Adrian, and Framingham High girls ice hockey coach Casey Diana also volunteered to deliver meals.
Officer Lewis said 20-30 police officers and their families helped deliver meals today, December 25.
The meals are delivered in Framingham, but a couple of Natick addresses were delivered as well.
“I started this as there was a need 50 years ago. Good to see it still going 50 years later. I love that police officers bring their kids. It is important to know that Christmas is not all presents and toys and stuff. Some people out there need help. So happy to see others like Officer Lewis keeping this going,” said Kelley, as he tied up meals in bags to be delivered to volunteers.