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.

 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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