The Greene-Dreher Firehall in Newfoundland, PA, was THE place to be on Saturday evening, April 2, 2011. Over 300 people shared a meal of homemade soups, salad, bread, beverages, and desserts. After everyone voted for their favorite soup and the best table decorations, the event was topped off with an award ceremony for the hard-working volunteers who made 80 gallons of soup.
The Tobyhanna-Newfoundland Lions Club provided eight loaves of homemade bread in addition to the willing labor to set up, serve, and clean up. Hemlock Grove Methodist Church filled three tables with an assortment of homemade desserts and tasty goodies. Dutch’s Market in Greentown provided salad, rolls, paper products, and beverages at cost in addition to offering freezer space for the leftover soups that will be donated to local food pantries.
Event coordinator Marita Wenner said, “We achieved our goal of involving the entire Greene-Dreher community in participation and nurished many bodies, minds and spirits of our neighbors.” Over $1400 was donated to cover costs and help local families.
Eight teams of five members each prepared homemade soups and decorated their tables. As serving time drew near, an inflatable palm tree appeared along with a pirate in formal pirate-y attire. Soon music filled the air. A smorgasbord of Italian foodstuffs graced one table and another one chickened out. Actually, the Hemlock Grove team calls themselves Spring Chickens so they made Chicken Noodle Soup, wore headbands with feathers, and now and then would burst forth in a chorus of clucking.
When the competition started to warm up, you could see the team members schmoozing with the residents then you could hear clapping and cheers as a ticket was dropped in a bag to add another point to the tally. Team members maintained a friendly atmosphere, tasting the other teams’ soups and voting for a Chef’s Choice Best Soup, being sure not to vote for their own creation. Residents and team members mingled, renewing old friendships and making new ones.
I had the privilege of greeting people at the door to explain the voting process and direct their donations to a big styrofoam box with a securely taped lid. Now and then someone would have a $20 bill and want change so they would wander around the room to find a friend who could break the bill, then come back to make their donation. One gentleman came toward me waving a $20 bill high in the air, dramatically depositing it in the box and saying, “This was so good, I don’t even want to ask for change!”
Another resident confided to me that he’s been attending events at the firehouse for thrity years and had never seen such a large turn-out.
Another comment from a long-time resident of Greene-Dreher: “I’ve seen people tonight that I haven’t seen in years!”
Text and photos copyright 2011 Kim Ykema