Feb. 28—FAIRMONT — St. Peter the Fisherman Church was able to have three baked fish dinners during Lent last year before the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to the weekly activity.
This year, with new COVID case numbers falling, the church kicked off the fish dinner season last Friday by hosting a drive-thru rather than sit-down service. Pat Stowe, chair of the fish dinner committee at St. Peter, said that although he believed last year would have been one of the most attended years for the fish dinners, this year is shaping up to be widely attended as well.
"We hated to shut it down last year, because we were on record that it was going to be our best year ever," Stowe said. "We're going to do OK, I know that. We've just got to keep on top of it."
Stowe has helped run Lenten fish dinners at St. Peter the Fisherman for years, and he said they have always been well attended not only by members of the church, but by other residents of the community as well. That community support continued last Friday.
"We're seeing the same people driving through, the ones who have always supported us are still supporting us, they're just not coming in and sitting down," Stowe said.
Stowe said the church served about 220 meals last Friday, which was more than he expected. He and his team are cooking up the same foods and meal options as in past years, Stowe said, and while the drive-thru service is a stark change, it keeps the runners from the church busy approaching cars and taking orders curbside.
He also said the proceeds from meal sales will be donated to Fairmont Catholic, because the school has seen fund raiser setbacks because of the pandemic.
"Most of the proceeds are going to go to Fairmont Catholic, because they have suffered through this pandemic as well as anybody else," Stowe said. "If we can get them a few dollars then that's what we plan to do."
Despite the different method of delivery this year, Stowe reassured that the dinners remain delicious, and are perfect for people practicing the Lenten fasting. The church will host the dinners every Friday of Lent besides Good Friday, and welcomes anyone to order a meal from the church.
He also said he gives credit to everyone at the church who volunteers their time to helping with the fish dinners. This year he expects to be especially challenging, but he said the volunteers are up to the challenge.
"Last week I thought was going to be a learning curve for everybody, but it basically went off without a hitch," Stowe said. "It's a real team effort, it really is."
To place orders for a Friday meal from St. Peter the Fisherman, call Antoinette Haught at 304-363-2793. The cost for a meal is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 10. The dinners will available from 4-6:30 p.m. each Friday outside the church on 407 Jackson St. in Fairmont, and the menu can be found on the church's Facebook page.
Email Eddie Trizzino at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @eddietimeswv.