Passing on Tradition at St. Michael's

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Mar 11, 2010 at 8:30 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG) Will St. Michael's Church in Binghamton continue to churn out pirohis for years to come?

Many of its volunteers aging.

Action News reporter Reed Buterbaugh shows us how St. Michael's is making sure a Lenten tradition doesn't get pinched out.

Pirohis were originally made by parishioners at St. Michael's Church to preserve the flavor of their Eastern European heritage.

"We had a lot of fun and it was good therapy for people," said Helen Gresko of Binghamton.

"A lot of these people are children of immigrants or they immigrated themselves," said Will Bennett, a student at Indiana University. "So it's a very rewarding thing and you learn so much by being here."

But Bennett is a rare sight, he's not a senior citizen.

He says it's important to learn how to make pirohis so the delicacy can be made for decades to come.

"I've known these people for years and like you said it's not something you can learn on Youtube," said Bennett of Binghamton. "There's something very personal about it."

The church has been hosting elementary school students every week to teach people who don't frequent its pews.

"I'll make pirohis with my mom and my sister and I'll find a recipe," said Sean Scott, a student at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Binghamton.

These volunteers say it's important St. Michael's always has people who can help with the church's yearly fundraiser.

They're happy to teach anyone the art of the pinch.

"It's important because it's a money maker and then if you forget all your heritage, just won't be anything," said Margaret Heckman of Binghamton.

"It's better to have a mix and it keeps us young too, you know," said Mildred Scheider from the Town of Union.

Scheider says she brings family in to help out and tries to recruit younger members of the church as well.

Making sure the tradition continues for generations, one pinch at a time.

St. Michael's Pirohi sale is every Thursday and Friday during Lent.

They can be picked up between 9 am and 5 pm at 296 Clinton Street.

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