Pottstown New Year’s Dinner Sends Good Luck South


POTTSTOWN PA – About a hundred people brought their appetites New Year’s Day (Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012) to the Cedarville United Methodist Church in Pottstown for a traditional “good luck” dinner of pork and sauerkraut. Whatever happy fortune the meal brings, however, likely will be appreciated as much in Mississippi as Pennsylvania.

Funds from ticket sales for the dinner will be used to help pay for a church mission trip of 16 volunteers to travel to Gulfport MS later this year. Once there, members of the congregation will spend several days helping the area’s residents continue their comeback from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.

The hurricane struck in 2005, church member Susan Smith explained, but seven years later Gulfport is struggling to recover. “Believe it or not, those people are still looking for help,” she said.

The church usually conducts several Sunday services, but to make the dinner a success it combined all worship periods into one. That allowed the dinner to be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the church’s adjacent Family Life Center. Rows upon rows of tables and chairs filled the center’s auditorium, and servers stood by ready to welcome the hungry crowd.

Eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day for a year filled with good luck is a Pennsylvania Dutch custom. Centuries ago their German descendants, and the Chinese as well, considered the lowly pig an animal of many positive attributes, including the ability to ward off evil, according to food author Gary Davis. The consumption of pork is symbolic of “the resilience of humanity,” he wrote.

That resilience remains on display in Gulfport, which was one of the cities hardest hit by Katrina’s punishing winds and rain.

Susan Smith of Cedarville United Methodist Church was among those ready Sunday to serve up pork and sauerkraut to send a group of volunteer workers to Gulfport MS