The nonprofit Family and Children’s Association celebrated its 135th anniversary Friday at the Mineola Athletic Association Baseball Fields, the site of FCA’s original children’s home that debuted in 1884.
Members of the FCA, Mineola residents, and elected officials joined together to commemorate and reflect on the group’s fight against substance abuse, homelessness, barriers to education, and economic security.
“One hundred and thirty five years ago folks much like all of us made a promise to the Long Island community to take care of people who really need help,” said FCA President and CEO Jeff Reynolds. “We’re going to make sure that Nassau County and Long Island as a whole is as strong and healthy as it can be, because we know when our community is strong that everybody does better. And we’ve kept our promise 135 years later.”
CA was originally founded when The Temporary Home for Children was built to provide shelter for orphaned and mistreated children in the area. The institution went on to include a school and a children’s hospital staying true to the idea that no child should go without proper care and compassion.
Today, FCA continues to better the community for families and children on Long Island, but that work is not done without the help of the nonprofit’s many supporters.
Some of the event’s sponsors included the Mineola Fire Department, the Mineola Historical Society, and the Willow Interfaith Women’s Choir, who opened the event in song as guests made their entrance.
Lessing’s Hospitality served corn muffins and cinnamon raisin tea biscuits that were recreated from a recipe book from the 1800s that was discovered when the shelter was still standing called The Home Helper.
“It’s fun to be able to get the chefs together and make the goods that were in that book,” said Lessing’s Hospitality President Michael Lessing. “To have an organization as great as the FCA, you have to celebrate every milestone because it helps what they are doing for the community. Being a family-run business, we get it, so it’s our pleasure to be part of it.”
Another treat from the event involved the showing of the FCA’s Safe and Warm Quilt Initiative, which was started in 2017 as a nod to the organization’s history and includes involvement from various schools, libraries, scout troops, as well as families and staff. The various quilts were put side by side on the baseball field and showed a great display of solidarity and a message of hope to the community that everyone can come together and support each other’s success and empowerment.
FCA officials noted that despite the progress made, there is still more work to be done.
“The agency has really given birth to a value and a principle that I know we all stand for,” said former FCA President and CEO Dr. Richard Dina. “This organization has persisted because of its commitments for kids, their health, their welfare, as well as their families. But what makes it viable, it seems to me is that the organization has always been built upon teamwork.”