LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. — As you may know, many Christians do not eat meat on Fridays during Lent. However, fish and seafood are often deemed acceptable.
Several years ago, St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church in Lee's Summit started a Friday night fish fry to accommodate that need, and it became hugely popular.
"We would serve between 800 to 900 people every Friday night for the last several years in this facility," said David Rennicke, a St. Margaret's deacon.
Rennicke said people would come from as far away as Kearney, Sedalia, and even Topeka.
In 2020, the church was able to host two Friday dinners before the pandemic began, and this year, it couldn't host at all.
Instead, it's doing a "reverse fish fry," asking people to bring canned fish to donate to local food banks.
"Five hundred, plus, cans of tuna, 300 cans of chicken, 75 cans of salmon, and over 1,700 boxes of mac and cheese, which was one of the foods that we served at our fish fry," Rennicke said. He later added the canned fish count was over 1,500.
All of those items have long shelf lives and are easy to move. The church placed a shopping cart and a plastic tub in front of the building for people to leave donations.
Rennicke said he took multiple loads of donations in his truck to area food banks.
"The Holy Spirit is coming out in the people that donate, it's obvious," Rennicke said. "I've actually gotten cards in the mail with checks saying, 'We miss your fish fry, but we love what you're doing,' and man it's wonderful."
The church will keep accepting donations until Thursday, April 1. Organizers hope to be able to bring the normal fish fry back next year.