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Lions Club partners with Ricci’s Italian Sausage to honor police

Photo by Elizabeth Perry

Julie Palmer, Ernie Ricci, Diane Schmitt and Cindy Dengler stand in front of the Ricci’s Sausage sign in Kennedy on Oct. 7.


By Elizabeth Perry

Ernie Ricci, the sausage prince of McKees Rocks, is partnering with the Sto-Ken-Rox chapter of the Lions Club to feed local police.

Together they are buying $10 gift cards for 41 law enforcement officers in the Kennedy, McKees Rocks and Stowe departments. Ricci is donating half of the cards and the Lions Club is buying the rest.

“We get a lot of police officers and we get a lot of first responders and we always give them special consideration,” Ricci said.

Customers can purchase a sandwich and a drink for under $10 from Ricci’s Kennedy storefront, so the gift cards effectively are buying lunch for the officers. The idea came from Lion’s Club members, Treasurer Cindy Dengler, President Julie Palmer, Project Coordinator, Roger Palmer and Secretary, Diane Schmitt.

“It’s the second time we’ve done this project,” said Schmitt.

In addition to showing support for police officers with a charitable gift, the Lion’s Club has also awarded several scholarships to Sto-Rox students, supported Faithbridge Community Church and donated money to the Kennedy, Stowe, McKees Rocks and Presston volunteer fire departments.

Schmitt said the gift cards for police officers were given in honor of the Sept. 11 tragedy.

“It’s just something to say, hey, thanks for your service,” Schmitt said. “Lunch is on us.”

Schmitt said the Lions Club also supports the McKees Rocks-based organization, Welcome to the Table, which feeds the hungry and Toys for Tots.

Ricci’s Italian Sausage has been a local staple for nearly seven decades. The shop has been run by three generations of the Ricci family.

They started with their 1945 Island Avenue location in McKees Rocks and brought the sausage recipe from Italy.

Ricci clarified that he’s merely the prince of sausage, in deference to his 91-year-old father, Ernest.

“My dad’s still alive, so he’s still the king.”


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