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St. Francis hosts annual spaghetti dinner

September 30, 2018

Parked cars lined the sides of the dirt-road outside of St. Francis Catholic Church on Sunday, Sept. 30. Inside were lines of hundreds of people waiting to grab a warm meal from the annual spaghetti dinner.

“It’s a community builder for our parishioners of St. Francis,” Father Sean Timmerman said. “But then everyone else from Butler County and Seward County and the surrounding areas get to visit and share a meal together and hopefully raise a little bit of money for our parish too.”

The Church has been doing the dinner since 1956, event volunteer Donna Stara said. Each year between 1,200 and 1,600 people attend the event. She said they get so many attendees because the money raised at the dinner goes towards a good cause and because of the quality of the food itself.

“Number one, because it’s a spaghetti dinner,” She said about why so many come out for the event. “Number two, because it’s a homemade spaghetti dinner. It’s not bought (pre-made) meatballs, it’s not bought ready-made sauce. All the indigents, the hamburger, the pork, everything that goes in them, they’re all home (made).”

The 52 families that make up the parish come together to put on event. The day before on Saturday, the first group of church volunteers arrived at 5 a.m. to begin work on the sauce. The next group arrived at 7 a.m. to begin frying the meatballs. Stara said they use enough meat to fill 13 and a half five gallon buckets.

Denice Soukup of Dwight was waiting patiently in the back of the to-go line to grab a meal. She estimated 20 people were in front of her, but she said the spaghetti was worth the wait. She attended the dinner last year and when asked how it compared to her own cooking, she said:

“Eh, yeah, they’re about the same, ” Soukup said. “It was good.”

The dinner featured a silent auction. Items included a game at David City Golf Club, four rounds at Oak Creek Shooting Club and a Christmas light tour/scavenger hunt bus trip. All funds raised at the event goes towards supporting the Church.

The fundraiser featured several games where attendees could by tickets to play and get prizes. One was a basketball shooting game. Another was the Dime Toss booth, helped run by event volunteer Ashlee Marvin.

“If you make a dime in a cup, then you get the cup, ” she said. “A lot of people have won. We have plenty of cups and hopefully we won’t run out.”

Father Timmerman said he was pleased with the turnout and was glad the rainy weather didn’t keep people away.

“We weren’t really sure with the weather, being what it is today, what kind of turn out we’d get. But so far it looks wonderful,” he said. “We’re a parish who has our focus on Christ and his church, and hopefully that’s evident in how we serve others and make everyone feel welcome.”

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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