For Westborough family, Thanksgiving meal is a gift of love to community

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By Cela Dorr, Contributing Writer

Standing (l to r) Gale McKenzie (a 15 year volunteer); Roberta Sylvester Brown, and Michael Sylvester
(seated) Bob and Anna Sylvester
Photo/Cela Dorr

Westborough – A resplendent display of autumn colors in the charming handmade decorations of Westborough school children greeted the approximate 150 attendees at the Community Thanksgiving Dinner held at the Knights of Columbus Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28.

For 49 years, the Sylvester family has given back to the community by cooking and serving a full Thanksgiving dinner. Bob and Anna Sylvester, along with their children Roberta and Michael, have made this public event their family tradition. Thanksgiving Day hasn’t meant a day off to the family, but instead a day of service. Early morning in the kitchen of the John Boyle O’Reilly Hall was spent peeling, chopping, mashing and stirring. And this year, 18 turkeys were perfectly roasted to be served to all.

Approximately 130 volunteers were on hand to see to all of the other details: setting up and decorating the hall, managing the parking lot, making table assignments, serving the diners, cooking the meal and even washing dishes. Including members of the Westborough Police Department, 40 dinners were delivered to peoples’ homes who couldn’t make it. For those at the hall, platters heaped with everyone’s Thanksgiving favorites were passed around family-style. And as if the main meal wasn’t enough, tables were assembled to create a 30 foot long “Dessert Theatre” of pies, crumbles, crisps and cakes.

About halfway through the meal, nestled among the visitors, the Sylvesters eventually were able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Anna and Michael quietly sat in the back and looked over the crowd, while Roberta and Bob mingled with the guests. What do they have planned for their 50th on Thanksgiving 2020? About the same; it’s their tradition too.