I was a Supporter

A Neighborhood Fair for AFSC

Esther Llewellyn Vail (1911-2003), my mother, was a supporter. As a child growing up in a Quaker family in Cheltenham PA, outside of Philadelphia, she learned of the organization's founding. The year I, Judy (Reece), was born, 1942, my parents and older sister Louise moved to Scotch Plains NJ. About that time the women in our Chestnut Farms neighborhood formed a service club.
At first the ladies group gathered to socialize and do household mending. But they soon decided to help the war effort in some small way. By 1951 they reported that they had sewn 700 garments as well as knitted 100 sweaters for the AFSC to ship to needy persons all over the world. In 1947 they put on the first of many children's fairs in a vacant lot in this neighborhood of 70 homes. The proceeds went to AFSC for its overseas work and a few local charities. This amazes me because we were the only Quaker family in the whole neighborhood! A newspaper article states that "one of the most popular attractions was a fortune telling booth." The food booth was also well patronized. There were games to be played and silly prizes to win. For sale were handicrafts, "white elephants," and plants. Someone donated enough ice cream for each child to have some. We youngsters loved it! But I was an adult before it sunk in that the proceeds went to AFSC. I have no information on how much was raised but a great amount of awareness of Quaker work was also raised by this simple neighborhood fair.

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