Fish Frys Are Lifelines For Volunteer Fire Departments And Church Groups

Not Friday is the last day for Lenten fish fry dinners at local churches and fire halls. KDKA's Paul Martino has more.

Video Transcript

- Well, today is the final Friday for Lenten fish frys. They are a lifeline for organizations like churches and fire departments that rely on them for funding. And this year's are especially important, since COVID-19 canceled most of last year's fish frys.

Paul Martino had the very difficult assignment of sampling this year's offering. Let's check in with him live right now in North Braddock. Paul, how's the fish there?

PAUL MARTINO: [? Kim, ?] it's pretty good-- so good, in fact, that North Braddock is sold out. They're out of fish. Sorry, folks. And that's good news. Because these fish fries are vital for funding emergency services in many of our communities.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

It's the sound of tasty fish being fried up. It's also the sound of funding that keeps the doors of the Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Department open.

MIKE DANIHER: Without the private donation of fundraiser, we would not be able to operate department and have equipment necessary to respond to emergencies in our community.

PAUL MARTINO: Last year, Sharpsburg's fish fry and all fundraisers were canceled. They relied on help from the bureau for funding.

MIKE DANIHER: Normally, we would participate in our town-wide community open streets. And that was canceled this year. Our fish fry was canceled last year. Our fund drive that we mailed to individuals was down, because people were laid off.

PAUL MARTINO: Same story in North Braddock, where they dipped into their savings to keep their doors open.

ALBERT SENIC: We were closed down. And everything else that made money for the department was closed down. Our club was closed down. So we didn't have any income whatsoever coming in.

PAUL MARTINO: While this year's fish frys are limited to just carry out, it appears the community is still coming through. They're enjoying the fish and supporting their firefight.

- They're part of the community. They've done a great job over the last 20 plus years and come back every year.

PAUL MARTINO: And despite that limit of just carry out, these volunteer firefighters say they're doing pretty well with donations this year. And that's good news. Because it allows these volunteer fire departments to continue to protect their communities. Live in North Braddock, Paul Martino, KDKA News.