Spaghetti Dinner impossible?

May 16, 2021 by

It sounded like an impossible task. Take the beloved annual Motherhouse Spaghetti Dinner — along with the silent auction and the raffle, and turn it into a drive-thru and online event. However, after having to completely cancel the dinner and activities last spring, the Development Team, Leadership and Food Services staff knew that they had to step up to the challenge …. and make it: Spaghetti Dinner Possible!

And thanks to the overwhelming support and generosity of our Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia donors and supporters, our March 21 event WAS possible! And not just possible, a success!

Assistant Development Director Ambria Gilliland spearheaded the effort and was amazed by the community response.

“This year’s dinner looked a bit different, but it was so much fun. I’m grateful for everyone’s patience with us as we adapted to all the changes,” Gilliland said.

Some of the differences?
• This year the dinner was completely done by pre-orders.
• The dinner was done only as a drive-thru and carry-out.
• The usual silent auction instead was done as an online auction on the Hansen Online Auction website out of Beloit.
• We still sold raffle tickets, both in advance and that day, and honored any tickets purchased the previous year that was canceled. However, the drawing was done on a Facebook Live video later that afternoon.
• New Food Service Manager Jamie Balthazor had to plan for not just her first Spaghetti Dinner — but also how to prep, package and prepare for a dinner that would still be delicious after transport.
• There was a drive-thru bake sale table at the event.
• There were no grab bags this year. (But look for the grab bags to return in a new game at our upcoming garage sale.)
• And sadly, there was no way to invite people inside to sit and chat with the sisters this year due to Covid restrictions. However, many of the sisters came out to help direct traffic, take food to cars or just wave at the visitors from a safe distance.
“I was so pleased with the outcome of the dinner. It was so nice to see everyone if only for a few minutes,” Gilliland said. “We were excited to see several new faces come through the drive-thru. And our sisters had a blast waving at all of our new and familiar friends.”
Numbers from Balthazor in food services showed:
• 370 meals served
• 40 pounds of pasta prepared
• 30 pounds of hamburger used
• 385 breadsticks baked
• 385 ice cream cups served

Gilliland said that support for the auction, raffle tickets and general donations also increased, with an 83 percent increase in raffle tickets sold, and 84 percent increase in auction bids and a 568 percent increase in donations.

“I want to give a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who supported this event through meal tickets, raffle tickets, donations and prayers. It’s so heartwarming to see everyone come together,” Gilliland said.

This year’s raffle ticket winners were:
Monster Swing: Katy Brown
Quilt: Carolyn Schmitt
Grill: Carla Moore
$200 Visa Gift Card: Joyce Dinges
$100 Cash Prizes: Kelsey Koster, Kenton LeBlanc and Madlyn and Dale Swenson
$200 Cash Prizes: Delores Aytes and Cindy Dunlap
$500 Cash Prize: Father Jim Hoover

The bake sale also was a success.

“We sold out within the first hour! When we ran out of food, we sold cook books!” Sister Betty Suther said. “We sold all the pies we had made within the first 5 minutes. Everyone was in a good mood. Lots of fun!”
Sister Denise Schmitz also braved the windy morning to help with the bake sale.

“What a day of meeting and greeting folks who came out for the Spaghetti Dinner and bake sale! It was a beautiful way for me to have a short conversation and of saying thank you for their support of the CSJ of Concordia. Wonderful folks and we are so blessed,” Schmitz said. “Many sisters donated their time and talent making the baked goods. Even the wind couldn’t keep down the great conversations, fun and laughter.”

Thank you again for your generous support. We hope you had fun, and hopefully we’ll be able to invite you inside the Motherhouse for our Spaghetti Dinner next year!

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