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‘To help’

When Alexis De Tocqueville of France visited the new United States in the early 18th century, he marveled at the spirit of volunteerism he found in the young country. He was reportedly astonished to see so many neighbors willingly helping neighbors.

One definition of the spirit of volunteerism is the principle of donating time and energy for the benefit of other people in the community as a social responsibility rather than for any financial reward.

That spirit is alive and well with Jacob Gehringer, a fourth-grader at Siegfried Elementary School in Northampton. He has been collecting food at the Laurel Fire Company breakfasts to benefit the Northampton Area Food Bank.

The fire company at 5120 Third St., Whitehall, no longer provides firefighting services, but its social club is still active with monthly breakfasts, band concerts and other activities. The kitchen and bar are open for members and their guests.

The growing boxes of food collected by Jacob will be delivered to the Northampton Area Food Bank during the coming week. Any monetary donations are used to purchase food items to be donated.

When asked why he was doing this food collection and volunteering, Jacob replied softly, “To help.”

One does not have to search far to discover the genesis of Jacob’s spirit of volunteering. His father, Tom, a member of Northampton Borough Fire Department, and his mother, Estelle, are solid volunteers and model the spirit to their son. Although only 9 years old, Jacob said already he wants to be a junior firefighter.

Visit the Laurel Fire Department Facebook page for upcoming activities.

PRESS PHOTO BY BILL LEINER JR. Jacob Gehringer, of Northampton, stands by boxes of food he collected for Northampton Area Food Bank at the monthly breakfasts at Laurel Fire Company, Whitehall.
PRESS PHOTO BY BILL LEINER JR. Jacob Gehringer, of Northampton, along with his mom, shops for food using monetary donations he received to benefit the Northampton Area Food Bank.