Cruise into the Abingtons for a taste of the old country.

Abington Heights Civic League, an organization dedicated to supporting causes in the Abingtons, presents its Drive-Through Pasta & Meatball Dinner fundraiser on Sunday, Oct. 25, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Chinchilla Hose Company, 113 Shady Lane Road, South Abington Twp.

The event will feature a recipe for Sauce and Meatballs that traveled all the way from Sicily to New York City in 1913 with AHCL member Bernadette Rubino Menendez’s family. Her grandmother brought a host of delicious and traditional recipes with the family, and Menendez — who serves as second vice president and chairwoman of AHCL’s ways and means committee — remembers family dinners as special occasions centered on amazing food.

Local Flavor is always about a great recipe for a great cause, and Menendez’s recipe earned Abington Heights Civic League a $50 gift card from Riccardo’s Market, 1219 Wheeler Ave., Dunmore, through Local Flavor Gives Back.

For the meatballs, Menendez uses a blend of beef, pork and veal like her grandmother did, but it’s up to cooks to pick what kinds of meat they want to use. She also steeps the meatballs in the sauce for about three to four hours to “get the flavors through the kitchen,” she said.

In addition to Menendez’s sauce and meatballs, dinners also will include salad with dressing, a roll and homemade dessert. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased on or from any league member.

The fundraiser is more important this year than ever, publicity chairwoman Cathy Plishka said, as many of the league’s annual events, including its most lucrative wine festival, had to be canceled because of COVID-19. Without that funding, Abingtons community projects will feel the negative effects. Still, AHCL plans to push through for the pasta dinner, requiring masks and gloves for all volunteers and implementing extra sanitization measures to ensure it could still host the event.

“It might look a little different this year, but we will be here and following all rules and limits for the safety of everyone,” Plishka said.

From left: Abington Heights Civic League members Bernadette Menendez, Gretchen Mackei, Cathy Plishka, Maria Rehder and Cheryl O’Hora and sponsor and Lucchi Family Wine Cellars owner Mark Lucchi show off pasta, wine and more that will be available at the Drive-Through Pasta and Meatball Dinner fundraiser on Sunday, Oct. 25.


Plishka is grateful for the support of local businesses, such as Scranton’s Express Employment Professionals and Lucchi Family Wine Cellars, as well as local restaurants. Restaurant donors each will donate a tray of pasta and meatballs so the burden doesn’t fall solely on Menendez. Those supporters include Armetta’s Restaurant and Pizza, South Abington Twp.; Basilico’s Pizzeria Restaurant, Olive Garden and Denny’s, Dickson City; Caravia, Rosario’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, Trovato’s Meat Market and Dino & Francesco’s Pizza and Pasta House, all in Clarks Summit; the Glenburn Grill & Bakery, Glenburn Twp.; Schiff’s, Scranton; and Terry’s Diner, Moosic.

Mostly, Plishka feels grateful to the community for its unwavering support. After all, the hard work the league does is for them. AHCL ensures funds get to the community groups that need it most, including starting both Abington Community Library and Abington Heights Civic Dance Academy. Every cent the group makes goes back into the neighborhoods.

“Our mission is to help and give back to the community,” Plishka said. “This started as something so simple, and look at what it’s grown into. We look forward to continuing to give back to this community with fundraisers like this one.”