Story by Sara Paul
There is an old Scottish saying that goes, “Guid gear comes in sma’ bulk.” In plain English, the translation is simply, “Good things come in small packages.”
While the adage may seem foreign, it hits home and rings true for a trio of young Warwick siblings with Scottish roots who are helping hungry children, one lemonade stand at a time.
Fourth-grader Quinn, second-grader Gabriel, and kindergartener Isla Reagan are all members of St. Stephen St. Edward School’s Mary’s Meals Ambassador Club, a charity which feeds over one million children a year.
A couple of years ago, the three siblings decided to go a step further and set up a lemonade stand at the base of their Ryerson Rd. address.
This summer’s second annual Mary’s Meals Lemonade Stand contributed to a grand total of more than $300, which will fund school meals for 15 children in Malawi, Africa, a nation plagued by natural disasters and ravaged crops.
Proud mom, Erin Reagan, appreciates her children’s efforts and explains how Mary’s Meals helps needy kids in a myriad of ways, feeding their mouths and their minds as well.
“We love the organization because they feed children in school settings, so they don’t have to be out looking for food. This makes them want to go to school and then they can succeed and get their degrees,” Erin explains, adding that she hopes other families will join in the lemonade stand campaign so they can establish “Mary’s Meals Day” with stands in multiple locations. There are also plans to kick off a cider stand in the fall.
Long-time Warwick residents, the Reagans have always been committed to charity, nature, and spirituality. The seamless trinity of the three comes naturally to the family, who spend most of their time outdoors.
“There is a connection between peace and nature, which comes from God, and we embrace these gifts. Giving some gifts back sort of follows naturally,” reflects Erin, who remembers her own childhood based in Catholicism, giving back, and lots of fishing, swimming, and exploring.
“I grew up being outside all the time and also in a Catholic home, where we put God and others first. We showed the kids that path, but it has always truly just been in them,” she notes.
Quinn, Gabriel, and Isla also participate in school-run charitable programs such as annual food drives and sponsoring needy families at Christmas-time.
The local youths have received Peace Builders and Civic awards in their St. Stephen’s school and are actively involved in their Warwick parish, St. Stephen the First Martyr. St. Stephen’s has raised more than $40,000 for Mary’s Meals since 2014, Erin reports.
Their dad, Matt Reagan, comments, “Our school and parish community has created a thriving environment for kids to understand the importance of giving back. I’m proud of all the students at the school.”
Quinn and Gabriel also play soccer for Cedar Stars Academy and Isla will begin dance at Black Dirt Dance in the fall. Their baby sister, 11-month-old Anna, is in training for lemonade stand duties, to be sure.
Spare time finds the family caring for their two pets: Koda, a Belgian Malinois pup, and feline friend, Lucas. Super spare time finds them fishing and crabbing at their favorite shore point in Long Beach Island, NJ.
The young heroes have lots of wise words to ponder. “It’s important to be peaceful and kind to people that are poor,” said Gabriel.
Quinn, 9, believes that, “If you are successful, you should share your money.”
Finally, when asked about the makings of a good role model, Isla, 5, succinctly replied, “God.”
The Warwick Valley Dispatch would like to feature young people of Warwick who are doing meaningful things. Whether in school, athletics, in the community or at home, we know there are many moving stories that need to be told. These “hero” stories can be from the incredible to the mundane, from the kid who saved his dog from drowning to the teen who takes care of a sibling with special needs. We ask that if you know of any young individuals who would be appropriate for these human interest pieces, that you contact Sara Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 702-3091.