Big turnout for pork and sauerkraut tradition in Berks County πŸ’₯πŸ‘©πŸ‘©πŸ’₯

The traditional New Year’s Day pork and sauerkraut fundraiser on Saturday at the Ruscombmanor Township Fire Company saw double the servings in 2022 than in 2021 when pandemic protocols put a damper on cherished community gatherings.

With the help of Boy Scouts, about 25 volunteers served an estimated 1,000 meals, according to Sharliene Bowers, deputy chief.

β€œThis is a little above what we usually get,” Bowers said, referring to the turnout and response. β€œWe’ve extended our times a little but we had people banging on the doors at 10 a.m.”

It was different from last year when the event was limited by restrictions on large gatherings and dining indoors and organizers had no idea what to expect for a takeout-only fundraiser.

The fire company cooked 1,100 pounds of pork, about 600 pounds of sauerkraut and 750 pounds of mashed potatoes.

Green beans, corn, dinner rolls, and dessert rounded out the meal that cost $12 for adults. There were about 30 tables with seating for people to spread out.

Around 11 a.m., the seating was about a third filled and the customers were steady at the takeout door.

Last year, volunteers cooked about 600 pounds of pork for takeout only.

Usually the hall is filled with 30 or more tables for the company’s biggest fundraiser, which brings in thousands of dollars to keep the lights on and firetrucks running.

Last year, some organizations had to scramble to find supplies.

Bowers said this year it’s supplier, Schuylkill Haven-based Schrimager Family Meats, through its Fairgrounds Farmers Market stand, came through with all the pork Ruscombmanor needed.

A line of people waiting outside the building on Pricetown Road is typical for the event.

β€œIt’s our biggest fundraiser of the year,” Bowers said. ” Our expenses don’t go away just because of COVID.”

According to Pennsylvania Dutch tradition, eating pork and sauerkraut brings luck in the New Year because a pig roots forward.

Usually a regular attendee, Sharon Reinsel of Kutztown said she missed the dinner last year. Reinel said she was glad to be back as she scooped sauerkraut onto her plate and got ready to sit down.

For Gerald Nowotarski of Oley it was his first time at the fire company event, even though he’s lived in the area for 54 years. Usually he would have dinner at home with family, he said.

This year he came to pick up a meal for himself and his son.

β€œI heard it’s very good and I thought I’d give it a chance,” he said.

Big turnout for pork and sauerkraut tradition in Berks County

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