Food Pantry to Take Over Fire Department Stand at the West End Fair

GILBERT, Pa. -- Scott Drake is a volunteer for the West End Food Pantry and for the last few days, he's been hammering away at this stand at the West End Fairgrounds in Gilbert.

He's getting it ready for the annual fair set to take place at the end of the month.

"Hopefully, this will be one of the biggest fundraisers of the year. They feed almost 300 families twice a month and it's costly," said Scott Drake, West End Food Pantry volunteer.

The fair committee approached directors of the food pantry after a volunteer fire department backed out.

Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder had staffed this stand at the fair for 40 years but decided to end its run because of food costs and staffing.

"To run that stand, we need a lot of people for a full week and it's getting harder and harder for a lot of the old people that used to help us. They either moved out of the area or passed away and it just gets to be really difficult," said Chief Leon Clapper, Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder Volunteer Fire Department.

Even though Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder won't be at the fair, the fire department isn't loosing out on fundraising money either after some local businesses stepped up to help.

The owner of Earth Efficient, and environmental service company and the owner of Greenview Management Properties both gave the fire department a check for $2,500 each.

"Well, it's a great thing when you got good business people helping you in the community to back you and help you out and understand what you did and why," said Chief Clapper.

As for the West End Food Pantry, volunteers say they plan to sell all kinds of food to draw people in, including clams and gyros.

"It's very exciting and hopefully it will turn out to be a big fundraiser for them," said Drake.

The Chief of Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder says the fire company plans to hold more one day events like chicken dinners to help with fundraising.

The West End Fair starts on August 19 and runs through August 25.