Community supper held to support victims of August fire

LEWISTON — A Saturday night spaghetti supper raised at least $1,500 to benefit families affected by the August fire on River Street that killed a 9-year-old girl, according to organizers.

Benefit supper
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal "I am so honored to be here tonight," said volunteer Carrie Hull-Chandler, right, of Lewiston, as she checks on fellow volunteer Ray Tripp, of Poland, at the benefit supper for the families affected by the August fire on River Street that killed a 9-year-old girl. According to organizers, the event raised at least $1,500.

 Chris Pope, director of The Root Cellar in Lewiston, which partnered with the Salvation Army to host the event, said they had sold around 220 tickets at $7 each. 

"And some people just walked in, handed me a check and left," he said. 

Pope said he didn't know Taylor McQueeney, who died in the fire, or her family, but some of the kids that frequent The Root Cellar did.

The Root Cellar, a nonprofit interdenominational Christian mission, provides a place for kids to "get off the
streets," offering mentoring programs, a teen center, an after-school
program for kids of all ages, Bible studies and other activities like
karate and sewing lessons, Pope said.

"We saw it as an opportunity to bring the community together," he said. "There's no dollar amount that will replace her, but if this family sees someone cares, it can give them hope." Pope added that he didn't think any of Taylor's family members attended the dinner.

The money will go to an Androscoggin Bank account set up to benefit all the families affected by the fire, not just McQueeney's.

"It was a real tragedy," Pope said. "There was an incredible amount of displacement, hurt and loss."

The dinner had three seatings, at 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. There were about 20 people during the middle seating. They were treated to a salad, bread, spaghetti with sauce, cake and lemonade, all prepared by volunteers.

Several musicians performed during the meal, including a duet by Kate Demarest, 20, of Lisbon, and Azah Kabsoun, 13, of Lewiston. Demarest said she has been volunteering at The Root Cellar for about a month and Kabsoun and her 7-year-old sister Amal, both spend time there.

People interested in giving to the cause may send checks to Androscoggin Bank with a note explaining that the donation is to help victims of the River Street fire, Pope said.


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 's picture

I must say, as the Uncle of

I must say, as the Uncle of Taylor, the family had no idea this was going on. I cannot say a thanks because the situation seems to used to other people's advantage. No one can replace the loss of the child, but as the facts stand right now.. the fire department's policy was to not go in and save a life, as per the fire dept and Lewiston police Dept detective.

To those who were displaced, the fact still remains many were not paying their rent for months in the buildings adjacent or were actually evicted. I would appreciate if people in the community are using Taylor or referencing to the fire victims to actually use that for that purpose. It ills me to think and see other people using it as a ploy to get people to come and donate money. I do not think highly of the fire departments using this fire as an example of fire safety with candles. They neglect to tell the public that the candle was actually tipped over by one of the residents who were in the apartment. They neglect to say that the residents were under the influence of drugs. They also neglect to state that Taylor was on the opposite side of the apartment where the fire was; not blazing out the window. In the case of hard facts I would welcome news reporters to actually do a thorough perspective.

Regarding family not being at this dinner... what would be the point? First off, the family was not informed of it. Secondly it makes me question to the validity of who they are saying are the victims. It is great to see the public come together but accountability and the use of tragic events to serve self-serving interests as you can see by googling Taylor McQueeney is disheartening.


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