For the Knights of Columbus, it's more than a fish fry

For the Knights of Columbus, it’s more than a fish fry

For the Knights of Columbus, it’s more than a fish fry

In a 2014 file photo, a young volunteer displays food prepared for dinners served at a Friday evening fish fry at Sweetest Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Detroit. The Friday fish fry is a big event during Lent for many people in Catholic parishes and is especially popular in some regions of the United States. (Credit: Jim West/CNS.)

The Lenten Fish Frys are more than meets the eye; they raise funds that transform and help communities across the globe.

It’s Friday night. You walk into the parish hall for a Knights of Columbus fish fry. You pile your plate with fish, coleslaw, beans, potatoes, corn bread and dessert. As you dig into the meal, you’re not just filling your belly with fried goodness —you’re helping raise money for the community.

“Fish fries benefit parishes in many ways,” said Tyler Lomnitzer, Program Manager for Life-Based Initiatives for the Knights of Columbus. “Fish fries provide non-meat options for the community committed to fasting during Lent, bring the parish together outside of Sunday gatherings, and raise money for causes close to the hearts of local councils, such as pregnancy center support, Christian refugee relief, and supporting seminarians.”

The fish frys are now so popular that there is a Knights-certified recipe for fish batter! Of course, not all councils use the same recipe. But they all make a difference:

Supporting Local Programs

For Alleghany Highlands Council 8689, the proceeds to the dinner this year will fund community, youth, service, church and projects in the White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., area.

Good Shepherd Council 10816 in Stepheville, Texas hosts multiple dinners throughout Lent. Funds from each support charitable groups such as HOPE, a group that assists with low-income residents, TREAT Riding, an equine assisted therapeutic riding program and a local pregnancy center.

Father Albert Lacombe Council 8969 in Lacombe, Alberta, used fish fry funds to support local youth programs such as outdoor athletic spots, Big Brothers Big Sisters and scholarships.

Fighting Sex-Trafficking

In Hawaii, Windward Oahu Council 6307 uses money raised from the fish frys to help local students. They also fund Ho‘ola Na Pua, an organization that helps girls escape from the abuse of sex trafficking.

Distributing Coats for Kids

In January 2019, the Knights of Reverend Michael Hoban Council 11946 in Shelby, N.C., distributed 50 coats to students in need. Those students would be without coats if the council didn’t hold its annual fish fry, which funded the purchases.

Funding Scholarships

Bishop Charles B. McLaughlin Council 7282 in Sun City Center, Fla., earned $4,200 through a series of fish frys. The funds were donated to the St. Petersburg Diocese to support families in need of tuition assistance at diocesan elementary schools.

St. Maximilian Kolbe Council 10720 in Houston, Texas, funds scholarships through its fish frys. The council awarded over $3,500 in 2016, and have distributed more than $35,000 total.

Helping Children with Learning Disabilities

John J. O. Hehir Council 0447 in Duluth, Minn. supported children with learning disabilities in Tanzania after Sister Gaudensia Mwanyika of the Benedictine Sisters of St. Gertrude Imiliwaha approached them for help. The $2,000 the Knights raised from fish frys went toward building a school for the children.

Rebuilding International Communities

Mason Council 9182 in Mason, Mich., assisted Vuna, a village on the Fiji island of Taveuni after it was devastated by a cyclone that destroyed homes, crops and the local church.

Supporting Veterans

For Dodge Council 613 in Fort Dodge, Iowa, the fish fry funds helped veterans reconnect with their service-mates buried at national memorials in Washington, D.C., as well as at Arlington National Cemetery.

So, if you’re not sure what to eat on Fridays during Lent, why not swing by your K of C council’s fish fry? You’ll fill up on good food, while lending a hand to the community.

To learn more about the Knights and the difference they make, click here.

Share your story with andrew.fowler@kofc.org

(The Knights of Columbus are a principal sponsor of Crux.)

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