Rotary Club of the Abingtons: Annual Pasta Dinner at Abington Heights High School is an experience in generational giving

Rotary Club of the Abingtons - Eileen Christian | March 1st, 2016 10:01 am

Fund raising of any sort is not easy. Small service organizations with big monetary needs and recognizable purpose often have trouble raising enough money to work effectively.

The Rotary Club of the Abingtons gives those clubs a way to raise funds through our annual Pasta Dinner. These local groups include the Abington Heights Marching Band, the Senior High School Class, Boy Scout Troop No. 160, the Abington Heights Wrestling Club and the Abington Heights Interact Club. This past Sunday at the Abington Heights Senior High School, the Rotary Club provided a way for all those groups to work together, sell tickets and make profits to use for each of their own club’s goals.

The day was glorious.

With early spring sunshine and blue skies, it was a day for a walk in the country or a game of catch in the backyard. Yet, all that day, the cafeteria at our high school flowed with constant foot traffic from early morning to late evening. Members of each group did early morning prep for the dinner, turned the cafeteria into a restaurant, prepared stations for serving the food and assisted the professionals, Joe and Sam Schiavonne, who cooked the dinner. Members of each group worked alongside of Rotary Club members to provide a family friendly Sunday dinner.

Our community responded and filled the cafeteria many times over at the Rotary Club’s annual Pasta Dinner.

When my shift began in mid afternoon, I took my place in the line where take out dinners were assembled. I was working between two members of the senior class at Abington. The boy on my right was taking tickets and barking to the assembly of red-shirted seniors the number and kinds of dinners for take-out. The boy on my left was dishing out the pasta and placing it into the takeout box that I handed to him. The box was handed down the line to other seniors who placed meatballs and sauce in the box. A few more kids added the salad and roll, while others boxed the dessert and still another boy placed it all in a plastic bag and gave it to the waiting customer to be eaten out.

As I worked with the student dishing out pasta, I asked why he was there. He said the seniors had decided to fund raise for a kid in the school who lost everything in a recent home fire.

I asked, “Do you know the kid?”


“Is he a senior, like you?”

“No, but he is in our school. He lost every, everything.”

I asked if he wanted a break from the heavy spoon lifting with the pasta and sauce on it. He quietly said no.

I searched out the senior class advisor to ask about the senior class project. She said she had asked for volunteers for the Rotary Pasta Dinner and she only needed 15 and the list quickly filled up with sign ups. Many more seniors wanted to work. I heard that same thing from the Pep Band coordinator, who said she put up a sign up sheet in the back of the band room with 15 lines for names. But band members drew extra lines beneath her lines so more band members could sign up. Their goal is to help defray the cost of music and uniforms for band members. The Boy Scout Troop was also there, acting as wait staff, cleaning up, working with hustle. The Interact Club members and the wrestlers were noted doing drink preparation and serving.

What an amazing experience it was in that high school. Joined in the act of giving, all of those kids worked shoulder to shoulder with members of the Rotary Club, selling tickets, preparing food, dishing out the dinner, serving coffee, washing tables, emptying garbage, wiping up spills and putting the cafeteria back to its original order.

Generations of people have many differences but in that high school cafeteria on Sunday, those gaps were filled as we all worked together for the common good.

Rotary Club of the Abingtons

Eileen Christian

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