Knights, local business team up for fish fries

By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

OSKALOOSA — Fish fries are a tradition for many parishes and Knights of Columbus councils during Lent, but that doesn’t mean that planning one is a walk in the park. “If they guess wrong on how much to order they’ll either run out, which will hurt any future week they are trying to do, or they shoot too long and have no exit strategy for the perishable product,” said Gerad Curry, a member of Knights of Columbus Council 4108.

Father John Spiegel
Knights of Columbus Gerad Curry and John Steinback chat with guests during a fish fry March 15 at the Hy-Vee store in Oskaloosa, where Curry is director. KCs from St. Mary-Oskaloosa help with the dinner in exchange for a portion of the profits.

The KCs in Oskaloosa hoped to revive an on-again, off-again Lenten fish fry this year. “We had done them in the past and for some reason they didn’t go over well,” said Dwain McClure, a longtime KC. They were in the process of planning when Curry made a suggestion: collaborate with the Oskaloosa Hy-Vee, the locally owned supermarket he manages. The store was already planning to host Lenten fish fries on Ash Wednesday and Friday evenings and, instead of competing, he believed they could collaborate. “I wanted to do it because I wanted to help out in the community,” Curry said.

Curry’s plan? Hy-Vee would host the fish fries but donate $1 of the $7 meal cost to the Knights of Columbus. The KCs would help with the dinners by busing tables and greeting guests. “Everyone thought it was cool that there was no risk involved,” McClure said. Guests can choose catfish or cod, which is served with French fries, hush puppies and coleslaw. “It’s really good fish,” he said.

McClure has been pleased by the success of the fish fries so far. Approximately 80 guests dined on Ash Wednesday and about 150 guests have been dining on Friday nights. Some guests give an extra donation to the KCs.

The Oskaloosa KCs hope to make $800 to $1,000 by the end of Good Friday. McClure said the money will go back to the community. “We fund an annual coat drive, Tootsie Roll drive and help with other projects for the less fortunate.” The KCs also help with an annual lighted Christmas parade and buy Bibles for religious education students, among other endeavors.

The parish pastor, Father John Spiegel, is encouraged by the collaboration. “I thought this to be a very interesting event with a private business teaming up with the Knights in an unusual manner for this traditional Lenten KC activity,” he said.

IF YOU GO

Fish dinners at Hy-Vee, 110 S. D St., Oskaloosa, are served every

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