ROCK CAVE – Upshur residents who dwell in the southern section of the county shouldn’t have to go without company, camaraderie or a home-cooked Christmas Day meal just because they’re alone or don’t have the bucks to drive into Buckhannon.
That’s the philosophy Banks District Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Roby espoused when he came up with the idea of having a community Christmas meal at the Rock Cave fire department from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 25.
In a Facebook post earlier this week, Roby announced the Rock Cave fire department would be opening its doors to all southern Upshur County residents who are alone or don’t have enough gas to get into town for the Upshur Parish House’s Community Christmas Dinner at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church.
(That dinner is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the church on South Kanawha Street in Buckhannon.)
“It was what was in my heart, it was me wanting to give back to the community for all that people do,” Roby told My Buckhannon Saturday. “We’re not just here for fires and car wrecks – we’re the center of the community. We do a lot of stuff with the schools. We’ve been trying to come up with some wild stuff to get the community interest back into the fire department. We want to be more community-oriented.”
Roby said the dinner is open to everyone but is particularly geared toward elderly people who may have lost a partner and don’t have nearby relatives with whom to share the holiday – and toward young families who maybe can’t afford a fancy Christmas dinner with all the fixings.
“It might be for an older person who has lost a husband or wife or a young family who has children but doesn’t have the money to pay for a traditional Christmas meal,” Roby said.
So, what’s on the menu?
Roby said attendees can expect to enjoy ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, green beans, rolls and an assortment of desserts along with coffee and tea.
Several community members have already expressed enthusiasm about the idea, Roby said.
“We’ve had several people call and ask to come up and donate their time,” he said.
In addition, the musical duo Key to Adam – comprised of guitarist Adam Moyer and violinist/fiddle player Kiara Williams – have volunteered to play Christmas music from 1-2 p.m.
Roby said the meal’s location is key.
“We’re in the southern end of the county, and we can reach a lot of people who can’t afford to drive down there (to the Parish House meal),” he said. “I think something needs to be done in the southern part of the county. It’s our community, and I view it like that.
“We could have one person come, and we could have a hundred,” he added. “The important thing is that we’re having it.”
But that doesn’t cover all the community-oriented events the fire department has up its sleeve.
Roby said a town hall meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, at the fire department to discuss ideas to tackle addiction of all sorts, including making counseling more available to southern Upshur County residents.
Opportunity House, Inc. executive director Matt Kerner will be speaking about addiction – be it drug addiction, alcoholism or gambling addiction.
Roby said he wants to start a conversation with residents about making addiction counseling available on a weekly basis at the department.
“We can talk about that (addiction issues), but we can talk about other things, too,” he said. “If you want to know what’s going on with the fire department or with county funds here, let’s discuss it.”