More Than 200 Spaghetti Dinners Sold At Lake Wales Women’s Club Fundraiser
by James Coulter
They may not have been able to host a grand banquet like they normally do every year, but the Lake Wales Women’s Club were still able to serve up spaghetti dinners for hungry locals.
More than 220 tickets were sold prior to the fundraiser on Thursday evening. As such, more than 220 spaghetti dinners had been prepared and ready to provide through takeout.
Customers pulled up outside the Lake Wales Women’s Clubhouse where they received their paper bag filled with a spaghetti dinner, including pasta with meat sauce, breadsticks, and a pre-made salad. Gluten-free and marinara sauce alternative options were available upon request.
More than 20 volunteers worked inside to assemble the dinners and hand them out when the customers arrived. Everyone made sure to social distance and wear masks while volunteering.
“We have been very successful,” said Susan Connors, a Women’s Club member. “I think it is great. We have done over 100 meals [within the past half hour), and the driveway is constantly filling up.”
More than three days were spent preparing the meals beforehand at individual homes. Preparation was set up so that everyone worked on a separate aspect of the meal. For example, for the salad, one person cut up cucumbers, while another prepared the lettuce, and everyone brought their prepared items to the clubhouse.
“So they were in their own homes without putting more people together,” Connors said. “We are trying not to have more than six or eight people in a room.”
While preparing food ahead of time was its own challenge, the biggest challenge was spreading the word about the annual fundraiser. In previous years, the Women’s Club was able to speak person-to-person at local businesses, but due to the COVID-19 crisis, such personal contact was limited, Connors said.
“In COVID, it has been difficult because a lot of us do not meet face-to-face right now, so it was all word-of-mouth,” she said. “This year has been a lack of person-to-person contact, when you go up to an individual in one of our local businesses and ask them if you will support us this year, there has not been the face to face this year.”
The Lake Wales Women’s Club, which was first created in 1913, has been hosting these dinners once or twice a year for the past 15 to 20 years. Each year, more than 25 to 30 pounds of spaghetti are cooked to serve the hungry participants, as reported by the Daily Ridge last year.
Proceeds from the event will go towards supporting their projects as well as financing their building mainentence, as Connors explained: “We have not been able to rent our facilities since March and our rentals were a major force for our funding. This year our main focus is to fund TWO scholarships to high school seniors, sponsor 2 candidates for Hoby, and to establish a Juniorette program for high school seniors.”