by Cori Hilsgen
More than 1,350 meals were served during the 30th annual fish fry which was recently held at the All Saints Academy.
Alex Schleper coordinated the event, which brought together 95 parents, 35 fifth- and sixth-graders and some college students from the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, who served as volunteers.
Volunteers were kept busy waiting on tables, frying fish, collecting tickets, working in the kitchen, packaging for the take-out meals, refilling beverages and fish platters and many other duties.
Nikki Wensmann, chairperson of the fish fry, said volunteers make the fish-fry fun.
“We’re grateful to the St. Joseph community who so generously support us each year and to all the volunteers who make it run like clockwork, while having fun at the same time,” Wensmann said.
Much planning and organization was done long before the fish fry could be held. Teachers and students were busy selling tickets and promoting the fundraiser. Incentives were offered to try to achieve a family fundraising goal. One of the incentives was a free pass to the Skatin’ Place roller skating place for the children of families who sold their goal ticket amounts. The top ticket-selling family, Alan and Caroline Glatzel and their children, Riley (fifth grade) and Maria (pre-school), received four free fish-fry tickets.
The Catholic Aid Association provided a $500 matching grant for the fundraiser.
The menu consisted of all-you-can-eat deep-fried fish, baked beans, potato salad, carrot sticks, bread-and-butter and a choice of beverage.
The school cook, Mary Kay Pelkey, ordered the food for the event. She ordered 35 cases of fish (a total of 980 pounds), 72 cans of baked beans, 420 gallons of potato salad, 200 pounds of carrots (all hand-cut by volunteers) and 75 loaves of bread.
Linda Heinen, administrative assistant for the school, said the goal of the fish fry is always to try to exceed the year before. This year more meals were served, but the final money count was not yet available when this story went to press.
Heinen said the money raised from the fish fry is used for budgeted operational expenses and school improvements.