When a majority of Bordentown residents were left without power after severe thunder and wind storms swept through the area on July 22, one local group decided to reach out and bring the community together the following day.
Hope Hose Humane Company No. 1, the all-volunteer Bordentown firefighter and EMT organization, went above and beyond the call of duty during the mass power outage as it opened up its doors on July 23 for people affected by the storm to come in and enjoy a hot meal.
After putting out the word to Bordentown residents through social media, the Hope Hose members welcomed patrons to dinner, an opportunity to charge their electronic devices and a break from the humid, hot weather for relaxation in the firehouse’s air conditioning system thanks to its generator.
The evening event, coordinated by Hope Hose members Ed Foley, Robert Curran and Brian Maugeri Sr., felt the gathering was another way to serve the Bordentown people in a time of need.
Curran said that the Hope Hose firehouse is one of the few facilities in the area that has a generator, so when the members considered the immediate needs of the Bordentown people given the warm temperatures and lack of power, an initiative came to put the word out for a community meal.
“As we were here mid-morning, the realization was that it did not look like the power was going to come on the same day,” Curran said. “We had the resources to cook, so the thought was, ‘What can we do to best serve the community?’”
Upon the decision to put out a meal for Bordentown residents, power was restored to many people throughout the day, but that did not eliminate the overriding affects of the storm. Curran said that the event was still necessary for people who may have lost their foods due to spoilage because of the power outage, and the option of going out to a restaurant could pose an expensive cost to larger families.
“The principle was that even when the power was coming back on, people still lost groceries, which is expensive for any individual especially when you consider people with multiple children,” Curran said. “The thought was, ‘What can we do for them that’s inexpensive and to get them here just to give them a hot meal?’”
Along with help from local organizations such as Bordentown’s Christ Church and the “Nappadappadogs” food truck, the Hope Hose members worked to prepare the meal for the approximate 50 residents who attended, which included pasta dinners as well as salad and refreshments.
Following the event, full power was eventually restored the Bordentown area, but the occasion did give the Hope Hose members an opportunity to reflect on what could be done in the event of another mass power outage.
When one resident had asked what the community could do to help in the event that this were to happen again, Curran explained that more volunteer efforts from individuals outside the Hope Hose company would be significant during emergency calls.
“Even though we were there cooking and getting ready, we still had calls going out at the same time,” he said. “The biggest thing an individual can do there is to step in to make the next batch of pasta or serve your neighbor – lend a hand.”
But until another incident of this extent occurs, the Hope Hose members said that the overall sense of stepping up for the community in a time of need was significant.
“It’s something we always do,” Foley said. “We always get through these things together, and this time was no different.”
“As a volunteer fire department, we are a family in amongst ourselves,” Curran said. “We represent all walks of life and careers with family dynamics to come in and work together. It boosts moral for us, and it’s something we just enjoy doing. These are people we live next to, work with and see on a daily basis, so it’s nice to go that next step when there is a time in need.”