FAIRFIELD, NJ – During the the Kiwanis Club of Caldwell-West Essex’s 95th anniversary celebration on Feb. 28, the club will honor the Calandra family with the Kiwanis Distinguished Service Award, to be presented to Kristen and Thomas Calandra at Cucina Calandra, located at the Fairfield Executive Inn.

Luciano Calandra, an Italian immigrant, had been in America for five years when he decided to open a small Italian and French bakery in 1962 called Calandra’s Bakery in Newark. Working hard alongside his wife, Ortenza, Calandra’s bakery quickly developed a reputation for producing some of the best bread in the area.  

The business took off, and Calandra’s two sons, Anthony and Luciano Jr., soon began working in the family business. Not only did Calandra teach his sons the inner workings of the bakery, but he also instilled in them his business principles.

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More than 50 years later, Calandra’s philosophy remains the guiding light for the family business. Although the business has grown substantially since 1962—with locations in Fairfield and Caldwell—two things remain unchanged: Calandra’s Bakery is still known for its superior bread, and the family remains driven by hard work, traditional family values and a focus on customer service.

The Kiwanis Club of Caldwell-West Essex, founded on Nov. 18, 1923 and chartered on Feb. 28, 1924, is part of a global organization of clubs whose members are dedicated to serving the children of the world.

Since its inception, the local organization has attracted people of high moral character from all levels of the West Essex community. Kiwanis also offers personal growth through its involvement in a variety of community activities and has become a model for comradery and volunteerism in the area.

Among some of the 95-year-old club’s notable activities, West Essex Kiwanis sponsors “K-Kids” at Lincoln and Jefferson elementary schools in Caldwell; three Builders’ Clubs at Trinity Academy, Grover Cleveland Middle School and West Essex Regional Middle School; five Key Clubs at James Caldwell High School, West Essex High School, Mt. St. Dominic Academy, Verona High School and Essex County-West Caldwell School of Technology; and Circle K at Caldwell University.

According to Kiwanis, the sponsorship of these clubs ensures that thousands of young men and women learn how to interact meaningfully, what “creating community” really means and how they can contribute to their immediate community.

Through various fundraisers throughout the year, including the Annual Street Fair, Christmas Walk and Beef Steak/Tricky Tray Dinner, the club raises thousands of dollars to be donated back to West Essex community—focusing on children first.

Caldwell-West Essex Kiwanis meets every Thursday at the Cloverleaf Tavern in Caldwell at 12:10 p.m., with the exception of the last Thursday of each month, during which the club meets at Caldwell University, Newman Center, at 6:05 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.caldwellkiwanis.org.