NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> The Quaker kids from Newtown Friends Meeting have done it again! They hosted an extraordinarily successful fund-raiser during a pandemic and raised over $3,000!
The designated charity for their event this year was the Mercer Street Friends Summer Pre-School Program in Trenton, N.J., a “a Quaker-affiliated, nonsectarian organization focused on hunger, poverty and access to educational opportunities.”
The kids have now raised and distributed to charities of their choice more than $34,000 over the past 14 years by serving simple meals for voluntary donations.
In lieu of prices for servings of lasagna and desserts available for the Virtual Dinner, purchasers were asked to make donations when they picked up their orders.
The hybrid in-person food pickup at the Court Street Meetinghouse with virtual socializing afterwards was the 2021 version of the teenagers annual Lasagna Dinner which usually attracted more than 100 in the Gathering Room of the historic Meetinghouse.
Lasagnas baked by members of the Quaker Meeting and donated to the event included: Beef and Chicken Sausage, Turkey Sausage, Beef and Veal Lasagna, Lasagna Bolognese, Black Bean Lasagna, Mushroom Pesto Lasagna, and Eggplant Parmesan.
Donated homemade desserts included: Lemon Cake, Carrot Cake, Coconut Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes, Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake, Double Chocolate Brownies, Cherry Pie, Peach Torte, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bars.
Lisa Li of West Windsor, N.J., head of the children’s Lasagna Dinner Committee, remarked, "The children and teens of our Meeting worked together beautifully, packaging and serving food for pick-up in the Meetinghouse parking lot and collecting donations for their charity of choice this year.”
Everything was packed in compostable containers. Masks and social distancing were required during preparation and pick-up.
Lisa Li was assisted by Sharon Hulihan of Newtown whom she credits with reconceptualizing the Lasagna Dinner from the usual in-person and indoors event to an in-person only for food pick-up, with virtual socializing and fellowship afterwards hybrid event.
“Sharon was spectacular,” said Li. “She is brilliantly well-organized and arranged for drop-offs by volunteer providers of lasagnas and desserts, pre-ordering for buyers, and ensured social distancing and mask wearing at all times. Everything went off beautifully.”
Previous recipients of the funds raised at charitable events by the Newtown Quaker young people have been: Habitat for Humanity, Syrian refugee relief via the Shelterbox; US hurricane relief via the All Hands Volunteers; Valley Youth House's Synergy Project for homeless youth in Bucks County and Allentown; Haiti Relief; The School for Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA), the first boarding school for girls in Afghanistan; Greater Philadelphia Diaper Bank; Mercer Street Friends Center in Trenton. NJ; Penndel Food Pantry; Save Darfur; and Heifer International.
Newtown Friends Meeting, co-founded by the Quaker artist and minister, Edward Hicks, in 1815, holds Zoom services every First Day (Sunday), with classes for children and adults are at 9:45 a.m. and Meeting for Worship at 11 a.m.