GR church continues fish fry event with drive-up option

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — State orders aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus are also taking a bite out of this year’s Lenten fish fry dinners.

When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s first round of restrictions came down, some of West Michigan’s larger fish fry events switched to drive-thru and takeout food options.

St. Isidore Church in Grand Rapids posted on Facebook that its drive-up fish fry event went so well last week that it’ll try it again Friday, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Monsignor Edward Hankiewicz told News 8 more than 200 cars lined up last week for the church’s meal options. 

The fish fry is one way to observe Lent in a time when churches are closed to large masses due to the outbreak.

“The whole idea of eating something other than meat is part of the participation in the austerity or the penitential spirit of the season,” he said. “As far as not having Mass, that’s the really difficult thing because that’s the real nourishment that we need, but we just have to do the things we have to do to take care of the people who come here.”

But the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids tells News 8 most fish frys ended early this year.

West Catholic Sports Boosters announced the cancelation of their final fish fry on Facebook Tuesday.

St. Alphonsus parish held its final fish fry March 20. The parish estimated its crew of 50 volunteers packaged and delivered between 750 and 800 dinners to people waiting in their cars.

“Even though we had to end a couple of weeks early, the generosity of many has abounded during this time,” the parish posted on its Facebook page, thanking volunteers.

St. John Vianney in Wyoming fried up their last fish supper on March 13.

Diocese spokeswoman Annalise Laumeyer says proceeds from the fish fry dinners stay local with the parish or school holding the event, so the total financial impact is unclear.

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