For the Stone Church Volunteer Fire Department, Friday fish fries not only raise thousands of dollars for the department, but allow the community to get to know their first responders before a possible disaster strikes.
Jerry Kulpa, Stone Church emergency medical technician and firefighter, said fish fries held during the Lenten season and other food-related fundraisers garner about $5,000 to $7,000 for the department annually. Such fundraisers are important to a department already running on a "shoestring budget," he said.
For example, batteries alone for equipment such as air packs costs $200 to $300 every couple months.
Photo by Heather Ziegler/“Fish ladies” Sandy Frasnelli, left, and Ellee Peroni are among the many volunteers at the annual fish fry held Fridays during Lent at Our Lady of Seven Dolars Catholic Church in Triadelphia.
"It all adds up," he said.
When people come to eat they also get the chance to visit with and get to know their firefighters. Stone Church's fish fries are held 4-7 p.m. Fridays.
"Before they have a bad disaster they can see the people who will respond," Kulpa said.
LENTEN FISH FRIES PLANNED THROUGHOUT PANHANDLE
- Stone Church Volunteer Fire Department, 621 Stone Church Road, Wheeling, 4-7 p.m. Fridays.
- Ohio River and Western Fire District (formerly Shadyside Fire Department), 4210 Central Ave., Shadyside, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays.
- Our Lady of Seven Dolors Catholic Church, Chapel Hill Road behind the Triadelphia Community Center, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Fridays. Call 304-547-5342 for takeouts.
- St. John Parish, 622 Main St., Benwood, 11 a.m. 6 p.m. Fridays through April 20 in Rosary Hall. Call 304-232-1153 for delivery.
- St. Jude Catholic Church, 710 Jefferson Ave., Glen Dale, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays through April 18. Eat in or take out available. Call 304-845-2646 for local delivery if ordered by 10 a.m. for lunch and 3 p.m. for dinner.
- St. Michael Parish, 1221 National Road, Wheeling, 4-7 p.m. Fridays except Good Friday in the school hall. Dinners, sandwiches, side orders and desserts are sold. Eat in or take out.
- St. Francis Xavier Church, 912 Seventh St., Moundsville, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays for eat-in, (Xavier Hall) and from 4-5 p.m. for take out orders only. Call 304-845-7080. Pierogies are also available. Fish fries event are being co-sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.
- The Limestone Community Association, U.S. 250, Marshall County, 3:30-6:30 p.m. Fridays at the community building.
Sometimes they even get a new recruit.
"As a volunteer and EMT driver, I get calls 24/7 and I work a full-time job. I have the same training as city firemen," Kulpa said, noting he works as an Ohio County dispatcher. "It takes a special person to be a volunteer."
Kulpa said his wife and son also are involved with the department.
"The fire department is like a close-knit family at times. ... My son, who is 17, instead of standing on the street corner, he helps mop the floors. He's helped us since he was 14. He helps instead of getting into mischief," Kulpa said.