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Children ate, drank and made merry

125 Years Ago, 1896

Taken directly from the Youngstown Vindicator:

“A Happy Affair. Elegant dinner given the needy children by The New-Theobald Co. Served at the Tod House. Six hundred happy children eat, drink and make merry.

“The Tod House represented a lively appearance this afternoon, when several hundred little ones crowded the large dining room of that hostelry and sat down to the table to dispose of an elegant dinner given to them by Joseph New, the manager of The New-Theobald Co.

“The sight was one well worth traveling a long distance to see, as the faces of the little ones lit up with joy at what was to them a banquet fit for the gods.

“Some two weeks ago, Mr. New conceived the idea of giving a dinner to the poor children of the city on Thanksgiving day, but as arrangements could not be made with Landlord Baker to serve it on that day, it was decided to give it this afternoon instead. Arrangements were at once entered into and the distribution of tickets was placed in the hands of a number of ladies, all of whom are identified with charitable work in the city.

“It was learned by a Vindicator reporter this afternoon that as many as 600 tickets were given out by these ladies and it seemed as though everybody who secured a ticket was on hand to secure a meal.

“Landlord Baker entered into the spirit of the occasion and the banquet tables were decorated with flowers and plants and presented a very pretty appearance, surrounded with the happy, eager, expectant faces, who all seemed to have but one object in mind, a dinner that would satisfy their every expectation.

“A look into the dining room during the progress of the dinner was a sight that would melt the heart of the crustiest old cynic in the state or Union. How the little jaws worked, and what quantities of turkey and potatoes and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie and ice cream and candy and sweet meats and other good things were devoured and above all else, what a spirit of cheer, of almost absolute happiness surrounded the board.

“The deed was a generous one, for who can appreciate a kindly act more than a child, and what must be the feelings of those several hundred little children toward the man who for a whole afternoon brought so much happiness to their little hearts. That the children appreciated the kindness one but had to look at them to know, and that their parents were grateful one may well imagine.

“Perhaps the happiest person in town, outside of the children, was Mr. New himself, who was present all during the dinner, superintending the arrangements and seeing that nothing was lacking that would contribute to the enjoyment of the children.

“To a Vindicator reporter, Mr. New expressed himself greatly pleased with the outcome of the affair and said that its success had led him to the resolution that he will repeat the dinner on Thanksgiving Day of next year. During the progress of the dinner, the Mahoning Orchestra was presented and in its usual excellent manner, rendered a concert program.”

— Compiled from the archives of The Vindicator by Traci Manning, Mahoning Valley Historical Society curator of education.

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