Each year the young people at Newtown Quaker Meeting host a Lasagna Dinner at the Meetinghouse, 219 Court Street, Newtown to raise funds for their “charity of choice.”
Previous recipients of the funds raised by the Newtown Meeting Quaker Kids’ Lasagna Dinner have been: Haiti Relief, Penndel Food Pantry, Save Darfur, Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, Heifer International, Philadelphia Friends Center Green Building Project, and Right Sharing of World Resources, a micro-loan program founded by world Quakers.
This year for the fourth year in a row, the charity selected by the young Quakers was Mercer Street Friends Pre-K Summer Program in Trenton, NJ – “a Quaker-affiliated, nonsectarian organization.”
The Lasagna Dinner is organized and run by the children and teens among the 68 young people in the Quaker Meeting. They set up the venue, collect the funds, serve the food, and clean up after the dinner. They often raise over $1,000 but this year’s $2,285 was an exceptional response.
Bob Anderson, Mercer Street Friends Board Chair and Newtown resident, said: “The energy these kids put into this is amazing! This is wonderful! Because of Newtown Meeting’s kids, economically-disadvantaged kids in Trenton are going to have a chance to learn this summer.”
Mercer Street Friends has an annual budget of just over $5 million and serves over 30,000 people a year throughout Mercer County.
The Quaker Kids Lasagna Dinner was supervised by members of the Children’s Religious Education Committee of Newtown Meeting, including Nikki Loscalzo, Yardley, PA (Clerk), Angela Ratliff, Pennington, NJ, Eileen Grant, Newtown, PA and Lisa Li, West Windsor, NJ.
Nikki Loscalzo said “As always, the kids did a wonderful job. We had kids ranging in age from pre-K to tenth grade serving and selling desserts. These dinners are a great opportunity for the kids to contribute to their community in a direct and meaningful way. For my own contribution, I feel there is no better investment that we can make than giving our most at risk children the tools that will be prepare them for success. High quality pre-school, such as that offered by Mercer Street Friends, not only provides a much needed academic foundation which gives these children better outcomes in their early elementary years, but, perhaps more importantly, Mercer Street Friends combines their academics with character education. Such character education in preschool has been proven to make children much more likely to graduate from high school, stay out of prison, stay off welfare, and have better employment and incomes in the long term.”
Newtown Friends Meeting, co-founded by the Quaker artist and minister, Edward Hicks, in 1815, holds services every First Day (Sunday). During the school year, First Day classes for children and adults are at 9:45 a.m. and Meeting for Worship at 11:00 a.m. Professional childcare is provided. All meetings are open to the public and visitors are warmly welcomed.