On the eve of Thanksgiving, the Claddagh Keepers, a newly-formed community service group, will collect nonperishable, canned goods on the front porch at the West End Saloon, 1129 Mauch Chunk Road, Palmerton. The items will be donated to the Palmerton Food Bank.

While all are encouraged to contribute, those who will be entering the facility and who bring a donation will get a discount off the cover charge.

Suggested items include: canned spaghetti, ravioli and vegetables; Spam; rice; instant potatoes; canned fruit; peanut butter; applesauce; etc.

The food collection will be the first official event for the group, which formed in September.

According to club President Stuart Henritzy, the group began with three friends and has already grown to 40 members. They meet every third Thursday at 7 p.m. at The West End Saloon. The only cost for membership is the price of the Claddagh Keepers T-shirt, which is worn at monthly meetings and events.

Claddagh stands for Friendship, Love and Loyalty. Henritzy says the Claddagh Keepers are a "Giving Circle," where friends can have fun.

"Our intention is to be able to plan events at local venues for 'giving' purposes, while creating awareness," says Henritzy.

"Our main focus is on 'survival' charities in the Carbon County area, such as (but not limited to) a homeless shelter for children and adults, abused women's causes, local food banks, and more. We want to make ourselves available to established organizations who can call on us to help if needed."

In addition to Henritzy, the Claddagh Keepers council consists of Cindy Gasper, vice president; Lorraine Paules, secretary; and Amy Lalik, treasurer. Melissa Binder and Lynn Shupp handle public relations.

Henritzy says you don't need to be Irish to join.

For more information about the Claddagh Keepers, visit their Facebook page.