GWINN - On the second Monday and Tuesday of each month, a small group of volunteers from the Gwinn area come together before the sun comes up at the VFW post 5670.
They prepare hundreds of pasties to be put up for sale, and volunteers do not receive payment of any kind. They don't expect to. They give their time and effort because they believe they are supporting a cause that has earned their time and effort.
According to Louise Ingalls, president of the ladies auxiliary for the VFW Post 5670, the effort was started over 20 years ago when former president Allie Black and her husband got the idea to try it as a fundraiser. The response was far beyond what they expected, so the auxiliary and the post decided to begin offering the pasties once a month.
Volunteers Judy Green, at left, Mary Connors, middle, Christ St. Aubin, right, and Liz Bailey, far right, prepare pasties at the Gwinn VFW on Tuesday morning. (Journal photo by Justin Marietti)
"The volunteers do this because it means a lot to them to support our veterans," Ingalls said. "I can't say enough about them. They start early in the morning on both days, and they do whatever needs to be done for as long as it takes.
"I can say I'm very proud of these people. They work very, very hard, and in the end, it helps the veterans - and that's why we're here."
Ingalls added that when they total up the profits from the sale of the pasties, they first take out the amount needed to purchase the ingredients for next month's pasties. All remaining money is split down the middle, with half going to the auxiliary and half going to the VFW Post 5670. However, both sides give that money right back to worthy causes in the area.
"The money from the auxiliary side is used for programs to support the veterans and their families," she said, "and for youth programs like 'Voice of Democracy' and 'Patriot's Pen, an essay contest.' And we put some of the money towards scholarships."
Wally Kari, commander of the VFW Post 5670, said they give a portion of their profits to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the Forsyth Township area.
"We also give money to the little league every year, and a few hundred dollars to the DJ Jacobetti activity fund," he said. "It also helps us to lend the hall to people who may have lost their home to a fire and need our help. And that's what it helps us do to give back."
Chris Adams, one of the volunteers, said that he chose to volunteer at the VFW because he believes our veterans deserve the best and at the very least, a place to gather and discuss the kinds of times they endured.
"If it hadn't been for their service, we wouldn't be here," he said. "We wouldn't exist as a country."
Anyone interested can pre-order their pasties by calling 906-346-5670. Pick-up is between 10 and 12 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month, and the cost is $3.50 each.
Justin Marietti can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 245.