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Local church adapts Lenten fish fry to pandemic

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PEORIA (WEEK) -- On the first Friday of the Lenten season, many local churches are cranking up the fryers for their weekly Fish Fry's.

But because of the pandemic, Peoria residents will have to get their fish fix to go this year.

Some churches like St. Jude Parish served around 100 meals this Friday, just a small number less than they would in a normal year. Coordinator Darrell Albanito says St. Jude will serve takeout meals only this Lent.

"We'll have two different people go out, ask them their name, go back in and get their food," Albanito said.

And while restaurants have had almost a full year to fine tune takeout procedures, this is a new process for the Knights of Columbus volunteers at St. Jude.

"We decided to do a shrimp boil, where people will get a half pound of shrimp, potatoes, corn beans, cocktail sauce," Albanito said.

Albanito says the new menu is to prevent the food from going soggy when people warm it up in their microwaves. And as always, the proceeds go to charity.

"Any time that you can serve people, and while you're serving people, you're also raising money to donate to the needy, the unfortunate, it always makes you feel good," Albanito said.

Parishioners tell us the food and the community is a Lenten tradition.

"The whole church would practically go over there," parishioner Pat Hartmann said.

St. Jude will continue its Fish Fry every Friday this Lent. To order online, visit their website or go to stclementkofc.org.

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Alex Gaul

Alex Gaul joined WEEK 25 News and Heart of Illinois ABC in January 2021 as a Multimedia Journalist. He formerly worked for KPNX-TV and KAET-TV, both in Phoenix, Arizona. The Illinois-native is an alum of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

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