Volunteer firefighters served their community in an alternative way in December by handing out hearty, mouth-watering lunches to Pentz Elementary School students as part of a long-standing Christmas tradition.
It's unclear how many years running the annual dinner has been a staple for the Pentz pupils (six or seven years is the popular estimate among those in-the-know) but it's a can't-miss event for volunteers, parents and teachers.
"It was a good way for the fire departments to give back to the community and the school," said Ryan Anthony, deputy chief of the Conquerall Bank fire department. His children, twin eight-year-olds and an 11 year old boy, attend Pentz Elementary.
Conquerall Bank, LaHave and Pleasantville fire departments split the cost of putting on the meal for the kids and rotate hall-hosting duties each year. Each agency cooperates on an official level too with mutual aid agreements in place to respond en masse depending on the emergency. The students who attend Pentz live in areas served by the trio of departments.
The LaHave fire hall was the site of the December 12 lunch. All of the school's 89 students, ages four to 11, chowed down on a feast of turkey (or ham), dressing, mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, rolls and topped-off with an apple crisp desert.
An estimated 40 volunteers - parents, auxiliary, firefighters and educators - helped in some aspect, whether it was preparation, serving, or subsequent clean-up.
If the rotation remains consistent, the 2019 feast will be at Pleasantville's fire hall.