NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The Community Service Association (CSA), along with the New Providence Lions Club hosted its 4th annual Pasta and Meatball Dinner on Sunday at the DeCorso Center. The Pasta dinner is the main fundraising event for the year for the CSA. The event was a big success with well over 300 people attending.
The main room at the DeCorso Center was crowded with community members enjoying the pasta and meatballs, all cooked by the Lions Club. There were also over 80 baskets available for a Tricky Tray. This was a true community event with Prestige Diner donating all the meatballs for the dinner. “The Prestige Diner has been amazing for us this year,” said Lisa McKnight, President of the CSA.
The CSA was established in 1954 to help families struggling in New Providence. The organization’s goal is simple, they are a helping hand for residents who find themselves unable to pay rent or a utility bill, or who have hit a bump in the road and need some assistance. Dianne Palmieri, Vice President of the CSA, wanted to get the word out that help that is available is completely anonymous, “We have a case worker and he’s the only one who knows the name of the family or individual. We provide help paying food bills, clothing, part of the rent or a utility bill to help them get back on their feet,” said Palmieri. The CSA, by providing that assistance, can be the difference between a setback and losing everything.
Mayor Morgan, who has been with the CSA for over thirty years, was on hand serving pasta and meatballs and had nothing but praise for the event and the work of the CSA, “It is truly such a tremendous honor to work with so many amazing people in the CSA and with our wonderful community. Pioneer spirit at it’s absolute finest and all in the name of helping our fellow New Providence families in need.”
The CSA Youth was also there to assist with all the work that went into the Pasta and Meatball Dinner. Whether it was putting up flyers, or setting up tables they were there to lend a hand. CSA Youth is a new arm of the CSA made up of New Providence High School students. Their mission is to work in conjunction with the CSA by volunteering for community service projects for needy members of the community. They will rake leaves, assist with groceries or help move furniture. Earlier this month they helped shovel out the senior residences in New Providence.
McKnight was thankful to the community, “It is genuinely heartwarming to see such an outpouring of support from our local business leaders, residents and other town organizations, and this fundraiser was in all regards a true team effort.” She also wanted to acknowledge the help of the New Providence Lions who prepared and served all the food for the fundraiser and Café Mavi who generously donated desserts “All parts came together beautifully so that we can truly be neighbors helping neighbors,” added McKnight.
The CSA is the best kept secret in New Providence, and that’s how it is meant to be, the work of the CSA is essential, but the anonymity they provide is crucial to sustain the dignity of those seeking their help.
The CSA also organizes an annual Thanksgiving food drive with support from the Boy Scouts. They distribute boxes of food for Thanksgiving to families in need so they can have a traditional Thanksgiving.
New Providence residents who would like to get involved are welcome to come to the CSA Meetings on the second Wednesday of every month (Sept. - June) at the DeCorso Community Center at 7:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted. Residents in need can call (908) 665-8254 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.