During the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, the Norvelt VFD and Ladies Auxiliary put an abrupt stop to the Lenten Fish Fry season due to the safety of our volunteers and supporters.
Our biggest fundraiser of the year. Stopped. Not even halfway through the season.
No fundraisers. The club is closed. The hall stopped having events. Members of the fire department and ladies auxiliary were laid off.
I think I can say we have felt the impact coronavirus has had on the community as an organization, a business and on a personal level.
We are very fortunate that COVID-19 has not run rampant through our local towns. I do not personally know anyone diagnosed with it and I do not know anyone who has lost a loved one from it, but that does not take away the seriousness of it and the fact that it is here.
We wanted to do something to give back to the community but at the same time keep everyone safe, so we came up with the idea to have a drive-thru, cash donation fish fry – a Fish Fry Finale.
Saturday, May 16th, the day after our stay at home order was lifted, seemed like the perfect day – and it was. The weather was warm, the sun was shining and the people came out to support us.
The fry was supposed to be from 11 a.m. until we sold out, and I am not kidding you when I say people were lined up by 9:50 a.m. We were masked and gloved and started serving a few minutes early as the cars lined the street.
People had the option of a fish sandwich and fries or shrimp and fries. They would pull up, tell us how many of each and then were given the opportunity to donate if they felt inclined. We are very blessed with how many people were able to donate and how many hundreds we were able to serve.
The line was long but the people waited. It felt good to get out of the house and safely socialize for the first time in months. It felt good to know we were helping others. We worked and laughed and had a good time.
We were also able to donate 360 pounds of frozen fish to the Westmoreland County Food Bank. And as the line slowed down later in the afternoon, fish was fried for workers on the frontline. We donated 150 sandwiches to the staff at Frick Hospital and Mutual Aid Pleasant Unity.
Small towns sometimes get a bad rap because everyone knows everything about everyone. And then sometimes things like this happen, and it makes you glad to be a part of a place that not only feels like family but is family.
This hasn’t been an easy time, but it’s nice to know people are here for you. I’m here for you. We’re here for you. Stay safe, stay healthy and if you came out last Saturday – thank you for making the Fish Fry Finale a success!