On Monday March 19, the Annawon Lodge Fellow Craft Club continued its 15-year tradition of making Easter Baskets for children of the West Haven community.
In the past we have worked with St. Paul’s Church and made Easter Baskets for the children of their Parish and Food Pantry. With the recent changes in the Hartford Diocese, St. Paul’s and St Lawrence Churches have combined with St. Louis Church. This has afforded us an opportunity and a challenge to provide Easter Baskets for more children. It is only through the support of volunteers that we can make these Easter wishes come true for these children.
The group typically made about 40 Easter Baskets for St. Paul’s in the past. With the merger of the churches, they made 90 baskets.
“Earlier in the year we thought we were not making the baskets at all due to the change in the church structure and now we had 90 to make, “said Frank Mangiero, president of the Fellow Craft Club. “We asked the Brothers of the Lodge and the Fellow Craft Club to help us make the baskets. They, in turn, asked some family members, and we have a full staff of Easter Basket Assembly Technicians.”
Member John Ryan ordered the baskets, grass, pastel colored plastic wrap and, of course, candy. This year there was only one stipulation: no samples. Due to the amount of baskets the club made, the candy was all spoken for and there were no extras until the job was done.
To keep the energy up The Fellow Craft Club provided the volunteers with pizza. Mangiero brought zeppole to celebrate St. Joseph’s Day.
“Everyone was very organized and a system was put into place,” Mangiero said. “There was an assembly line to fill the plastic eggs with candy. There was another assembly line to fill the baskets with candy and there was a final wrapping and ribbon tying table. Before the baskets were all boxed up almost all the tables in the hall were filled with brightly colored Easter Baskets.”
Mangiero would like to thank all the people that volunteered their time to make some kids smile. He was very impressed with the amount of help there was. In fact, Senior Warden Rich Biela, Sr. brought almost his whole family to help including grandchildren.
The volunteers: Richard and Cheryl Biela, Richard Biela, Jr., Stacey Biela, Frank and Rachel Andriulli, John and Cynthia Ryan, Rich Werner, Dennis Frosolone, Steven Mullins, Jonathan Belmont, Anthony Dion King, Gerald Calibritto, Mark Homburg, Bob Gundersen, Jim Jennette, April Mercure, Frank Mangiero, Alan Friedman, Steve Hildrich and Bill Lang.
Wednesday morning, March 21, John Ryan, Jim Jennette and Frank Mangiero packed up their cars and headed to the rectory at St. Paul’s Church where the Food Pantry is located and met with Justina Marchitto to drop off the Easter Baskets.
“She was very pleased that we could do this and she told us the kids look forward to the Easter Baskets. We also got a tour of the Food Pantry for the less fortunate families of West Haven,” Mangiero said.