In an effort to raise money for the Willitts-Hogan-Tonne Roebling American Legion Post 39, its members are encouraging locals to attend their monthly “Shrimp Night” event.
The dinner event, which is held on the first Friday of every month, has been a staple gathering for its members and locals for the more than a decade when it was initiated by post commander Louis G. Wargo, Jr. to raise money for the post.
Post members said that the money raised from the monthly event is dedicated toward paying for the building’s bills and expenses.
Community members are invited to attend the next “Shrimp Night” on June 7. The event is held at the site, which is located at 112 4th Ave. in Roebling and is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The menu options for the event feature a $12 shrimp platter dinner; a $9 roast beef platter; an $8 meatball sandwich platter; a $5 hot dog platter; and $3 kids meal. The dinner platters include sides of macaroni salad, coleslaw, a dessert, and coffee and tea.
Post chaplain and United States Army veteran Ronald Zalegowski said that although the event was once a popular gathering among the legion members to commune and dine, its attendance has gone down in the last several years due to members who have moved away, older members that have passed away and/or members who have disabilities.
“The people who come to ‘Shrimp Night’ are mostly seniors, and over the last 10 years, most of them are now disabled and can’t come to the event anymore, and a lot of them are deceased too because they were older people,” Zalegowski said. “Our numbers have dropped in the last two years or so […] Back when the post first started around World War I, we probably had about 400 members. Now, it runs about 135 members.”
Although Zalegowski said that a limited number of members still help coordinate and run the monthly “Shrimp Night,” which is a worthy event to come out for.
“There is a comradery and friendship when you come in here,” he said. “The food is excellent. We cook the shrimp ourselves, and it’s an inexpensive meal too. Where are you going to get a shrimp dinner with two salads and a dessert for $12? You can’t. It’s affordable. It’s a good environment. It’s a chance to meet some veterans, and you are supporting a great organization.”
Zalegowski also said that local youth can get involved in the event as well whether they would like to help in the cater services at the event or assist in cleaning up. He noted that students have been granted community service hours for their efforts and participation in the event.
Some of the post’s local efforts and outreach include scholarship awards and honors for students, youth in the community, the Boy Scouts of America as well as coordination of township events on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Patriots Day.
“We are still a valuable part of the community and involved with Veterans Affairs in the community,” he said. “If we weren’t there, I’m afraid that the younger generation might forget about what the veterans have done or the sites that we place American flags at or have done services at.”
For people interested in the event or would like more information about it, contact the American Legion Post 39 at 609-298-6868.