The Daily Item
RIVERSIDE — This is the first year Ken Herman has had the time to help make doughnuts at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church.
The church member from Rush Township decided to volunteer Monday since he retired in September from the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit where he was a school-to-work assistant.
He’s familiar with food, having previously worked at ConAgra and at Hanover Brands.
“I’m measuring the milk and getting the eggs ready,” he said over the flurry of activity in the church kitchen that began at noon Monday.
More volunteers, most of them church members, expected to help in later shifts and work through the night to have between 400 and 450 dozen doughnuts ready in time for people to pick up today, Fat Tuesday.
Fat Tuesday or Fausnaught Day, is a tradition the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of 40 days of Lent. Cooks used up baking ingredients on Fat Tuesday so they wouldn’t be wasted during the Lenten fast.
Jim Breyfogle, of Riverside, took time off from his job as a writer Monday to help out. He was taking trays of potato doughnuts to cool before they were bagged in plastic by the dozen.
“This is a good group of people to work with. Everybody has fun and gets the job done,” said Breyfogle who attends the church with his family.
Cindy Gearhart, of Danville, helped out two years ago and was back Monday. She bagged doughnuts, which come in plain or sugar varieties.
The church kept the price the same as last year — at $5 a dozen. Money raised will go to the church and to its missions.
Coordinator Marge Bassett said they usually make between $1,800 and $2,000.
This is their 23rd year making doughnuts. Bassett has been in charge for every one.
Ray Levan, of Riverside, was pouring batter into what they call the hopper of the machine that cooks the Fausnaughts. This is his third year helping.
“I like to do it because it’s a bunch of great people to work with and a good winter job. I tend to get lazy in winter,” said Levan who is retired.
Another church member from Riverside — Pat Ikeler — said the group “works well together. It’s a dedicated group of people.”
Taking doughnuts from the machine and placing them on a tray was Don Hummer, of Rushtown. The machine makes 10 dozen in a batch.
“I was away from the operation for quite a few years. I was told by my wife to volunteer,” he said.
But his wife, Mary Ellen Hummer, disagreed. “He volunteered himself,” said Mary Ellen who was working the batter in the large commercial-size mixer.
“A lot came in and bagged the dry ingredients yesterday,” said Gary Garman, of Riverside. Bassett and Garman’s wife, Gail Garman, were among the ingredients workers.
Standing next to Hummer, Gary Garman said he was “doing a little bit of everything.”
He also got a chance to sample a doughnut and pronounced it tasty.
The church, at 240 Sunbury Road, will have doughnuts for sale starting early this morning and while they last.