YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – After nearly 30 years of preparing and serving fish dinners during Lent, volunteers with Saint Brendan’s Parish have become strictly a drive-thru operation.
“People are pre-ordering or driving up to order. We will pack the orders and have runners go out to their cars, so they never had to come into the building,” said Rosie Marich, volunteer.
You can thank the pandemic for the change. A year ago, fish fries were abruptly shut down after only a few weeks, costing congregations like Saint Brendan’s more than half of the revenue they had come to count on over the years to pay for everything from mortgages to routine maintenance.
“We have a 100-year-old capital plant here. There’s always something that breaks down that needs fixed,” Marich said.
In the kitchen, volunteers split up the workload, putting meals into containers in one area while dredging 500 pounds of fish through the batter before laying those pieces into the hot oil.
Not having dine-in service means no one has to wait on tables. Instead, volunteers now have to run back and forth between the kitchen and the parking lot.
While organizers hope the changes will allow them to make up for what was lost a year ago, the fellowship remains as strong as before.