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Lenten fish frys help many local organizations pay the bills

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Aaron Loughner | For The Times Express
Firefighter Amanda Ferchalk serving macaroni and cheese Friday night at the Pitcairn Volunteer Fire Co. No. 2 fish fry.
Times Express
Volunteer Betty Lang prepares a fish dinner to go at the Pitcairn Volunteer Fire Department fsh fry last week.
(c) 2013 Aaron Loughner
Assistant Chief Lucas Park cutting fresh potatoes for the fries on Friday night at the Pitcairn VFC #2 Fish Fry. Aaron Loughner | For The Times Express

Several churches and nonprofit organizations host fish frys each Friday during Lent and depend on local residents to bring in money that helps support services.

Sardis Volunteer Fire Department President Joe Paiano said he is excited about a new approach being taken to attract people there.

After learning that a colleague's daughter has an allergy to gluten, volunteers decided to offer gluten-free items to “get a one-up on everybody” this year. The new menu seems to be making a difference, Paiano said.

“We fill the place every Friday,” he said.

The Murrysville fire department relies on the event as the proceeds go to paying for the insurance of the firefighters, an expense that takes up a significant amount of the budget, Paiano said.

This year, the fire department hopes to raise $500,000 to $600,000 which is a little less than one-tenth of its annual budget.

North American Martyrs School in Monroeville uses the money raised from its fish frys to help keep technology and curriculum current, administrative assistant Suzanne Evanchak said.

“By supporting the fish fry, the community is supporting the school and maintaining the quality education we can provide,” she said.

With about 1,000 meals served each week, the fish frys at North American Martyrs School also help keep the tuition cost down, said Vincent Vogle, president of the Parent Teacher Group.

The fish frys at St. Barbara Catholic Church in Harrison City is the second-largest fundraiser of the year. All proceeds go to the parish's annual budget, officials said.

Any money that exceeds the expected amount is used to buy new equipment. Last year, money was used to buy a new fryer for the church.

The fish-fry events always have been popular, with residents calling before Lent to make sure the church still is hosting it, business manager Jan Shepherd said.

“The product is so good that they just keep coming back,” she said.

All of the success at St. Barbara hinges on the residents who volunteer their time and also those who come out to have dinner each Friday during Lent, said Dawn Borger, director of liturgical and environmental arts.

Here is a list of fish frys in the area:


• Mother of Sorrows Church, 4202 Old William Penn Highway, open from 3:30 to 7 p.m., call 724-972-6100 for takeout orders, cash only.

• Sardis Volunteer Fire Department; 5205 Rocky Hill Lane; open from 4 to 8 p.m.; featuring fish, shrimp, halushki, hot dogs, clam chowder and more. For takeout orders, call 724-327-3987 or 724-733-2602. For details, see


• Export Moose; 5903 Washington Ave.; open from noon to 8 p.m.; featuring fish, shrimp, tuna melt, chicken tenders and more. For takeout, call 724-327-9298.

• Italian-American Club; 5930 Kennedy Ave.; open from 11 a.m. to midnight; featuring fish, crab cakes, hamburgers, zucchini and more. For takeout, call 724-327-6994. For details, see


• Faith United Methodist Church; 305 Freeport St.; open from 4 to 7:30 p.m.; featuring fish, grilled chicken, salmon patties and more. Takeout orders by phone are not accepted, but walk-ins are welcome. For details, see


• Claridge Volunteer Fire Department; 3100 Blocks Road; open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; featuring fish, shrimp dinners, halushki, chicken sandwiches and more. For takeout, call 724-744-2400.

• Harrison City Volunteer Fire Department; Route 130; open 4 to 8 p.m. featuring fish, popcorn shrimp, crab cakes and more. For takeout, call 724-744-9980. For details, see

• Level Green Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary, Route 130; open 5 to 8 p.m.; featuring fried- and baked-fish sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs and more. For takeout, call 412-372-9669. For details, see

• St. Barbara Church; 111 Raymaley Road; open 4 to 7 p.m.; in the social hall; featuring fish sandwiches, pasta fagioli, halushki and more. For takeout, call 724-744-1612. For details, see


• St. Bernadette Parish; 245 Azelea Drive; open 4:30 to 7 p.m.; in the Lourdes Center Dining Hall; featuring fish sandwiches, pizza, pasta, pierogies and more. For takeout, call 412-843-0668.

• North American Martyrs School; 2526 Haymaker Road; open 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; featuring fish, shrimp, pizza and more. For takeout, call 412-372-9771. For details, see

• Pitcairn Volunteer Fire Company No. 2; 720 Brinton Ave.; open at 4 p.m.; featuring fish sandwiches, pierogies, haluski and more. For takeout, call 412-856-5630.

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