Joy El Ministries thanks volunteers with pork and sauerkraut dinner

December 31, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • Carolyn Moffit, right, hands Sue Witmer, left, the mocha brownies that she made for Camp Joy El's New Year's Eve pork and sauerkraut dinner.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — Take 60 pounds of sauerkraut and 80 pounds of pork, toss into the mix 60 pounds of chicken and some corn and mashed potatoes, and you have the recipe for Camp Joy El's New Year's Eve pork and sauerkraut dinner.

Camp Joy El's traditional pork and sauerkraut dinner has been a popular mainstay for almost 40 years.

But Saturday's crowd was so large that camp staffers donned reflective vests and helped direct cars into designated spaces in order to accommodate more than 220 people who attended the annual event sponsored by Joy El Ministries.

When the doors of the dining hall opened at noon, the inviting aroma of pork and sauerkraut was the first thing to greet guests.

Ada Strite's plate was covered with chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and, of course, pork and sauerkraut.

"There's always a big crowd," said Strite, of Chambersburg, Pa.

When her children were young, she volunteered for Joy El Ministries.

"It's a nice way to spend the day," she said.

Strite's husband, Jim, said Joy El Ministries has been a positive influence on his family.

"I'm happy to be here," Jim Strite said. "I'm seeing people I haven't seen in 30 years."

Aaron Ziebarth, executive director of Joy El Ministries, said the free dinner is a way to say thank you to the organization's volunteers and to educate the community about the ministry.

"We bill it as a seniors' event for anyone 55 and up," Ziebarth said. "We just pass the word around and invite a variety of different people."

He said the dinner is not a fundraiser, but a good will offering taken after the dinner usually raises about $1,000.

"But we don't do it for that," Ziebarth said. "We want these people to have a good time. We want it to be Christ-focused during their time here."

Following dinner, there was a short presentation on the ministry followed by music.

Martha Haugh, 81, of Waynesboro, Pa., came to the dinner with her son, Larry Haugh.

"Everything was very good," said Haugh, who was reluctant to single out her favorite dish.

Haugh has been a listener for Release Time, a program of Joy El Ministries, for more than 10 years.

"It's nice for all the seniors to get together," Haugh said. "We don't get to see each other sometimes from one year to the next year. I really enjoy it."

But her son was just happy to spend New Year's Eve with his mother.

"I'm just glad I could do something with my mother," Larry Haugh said.

It seems that Bob Stanhope of Chambersburg has never met a meal prepared by Camp Joy El staff that he didn't like.

When asked whether he liked the pork and sauerkraut or the chicken the best, he answered with a sly "yes. I enjoy all of it very much. It was very good."

"It's a great time to socialize," Stanhope said. "Seniors get forgotten. This is a great ministry for this group of people."


Pork and sauerkraut dinners

Here is a partial list of Franklin County locations that will ring in the New Year today with traditional pork and sauerkraut dinners:

  • The Fayetteville (Pa.) Fire Co. will hold its meal from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost is $7.
  • The Metal Township Fire & Ambulance Company in Fannettsburg, Pa., will host its dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost is $7.50 for adults. Children 12 and younger are admitted free.

Proceeds from both dinners will benefit the fire companies.

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