Elmira spaghetti supper serves several hundred - Catholic Courier

Elmira spaghetti supper serves several hundred

No offense to any Italian restaurants in Elmira, but they couldn’t come close to matching the crowd that descended upon the parish center of Blessed Sacrament Parish on May 26. Nor could they compete with the price.

A total of 523 dinners were served at Blessed Sacrament’s 23rd-annual Free Spaghetti Supper. Elaine Chamberlin, organizer of the event, said attendance may have been even higher except that "the day was extremely hot, and our gym is not air conditioned."

Among the serving statistics of note from this colossal meal: 120 pounds of pasta used, which included 10 extra pounds after the original amount ran out; seven cases of industrial-sized sauce ingredients; 45 pounds of ground beef and sausage; 10 pounds of grated cheese; and 17 boxes of ice-cream bars with 24 per box. Chamberlin noted that Italian bread and margarine, brownies, cookies, soda and ice water also were served, with parishioners and area businesses contributing many of the items.

"We also offered meatless sauce this year and several asked for it," she added.

The Free Spaghetti Supper has become a popular tradition in Elmira, having originated at St. Patrick Church in 1988 and moving to the former St. Anthony Church before arriving at its present location at the parish center near Ss. Peter and Paul Church. The supper is open to all community members regardless of religious affiliation or income level, with a special focus on including individuals and families struggling with poverty.

Chamberlin said that approximately 75 people worked on setup, serving and cleanup, with other supporters aiding the cause by baking, bringing in items, donating cash and praying for the success of the event. Chamberlin said she’s grateful for these volunteer efforts from Blessed Sacrament and other area parishes, and is especially pleased that some new faces surfaced this year to help out.

"Those of us who have worked for the supper for years are aging, including me — I’m 70. So I asked younger parishioners to come and help, and they showed up in droves," Chamberlin remarked. "Even children under 10 helped their parents bringing bread and desserts to the table."

"We’re proud of our supper, again," she added.

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