By Connor Ciecko
For many area churches, Fish Fries are a Spring tradition and a way to build community and share fellowship with friends under one large roof. However, going on a second Easter season with COVID-19, parishes have had to adapt and find new ways to create that sense of connection.
Enter: the drive-through fish fry.
Instead of filling a parish center with 250 people, community members can instead make a reservation online and come pick up their fish dinner all without having to get out of their car. It’s like the church version of Long John Silver’s.
On February 26th, Holy Cross Catholic Church held its first fish fry, and their success, as well as their success during the Christmas season, inspired Saint Matthew Catholic Parish to start their own drive through fish fry. They held their first on March 5th, offering meals on a freewill donation basis, meaning that community members can pay what they can for a meal of a fish sandwich, coleslaw, baked beans, and a desert. In the past, the church has raised over $1,500 from the fish fry, although this year it is being offered largely as a public service to help those who have been most impacted by the pandemic.
“In 2020, we only got one [fish fry] in before COVID struck,” said Joe Rank, a volunteer at the fish fry. “This year it’s a different format. It seems to be popular.”
Some of the volunteers at the fish fry have been involved for upwards of twenty years and are glad to see the tradition continue, and the opportunity to help their community is what has kept them coming back year after year.
“Resuming the fish fries gives people hope that it’s going to get better.”
The next fish fry at St. Matthew is scheduled for March 19th, and at Holy Cross is March 12th.