YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — It’s a sight found at churches all around the area this time of year — volunteers preparing and packing Lenten fish dinners on Fridays. Although some at Saint Brendan’s Parish in Youngstown started at 4 Friday morning, the work there actually begins on Thursdays.

The fish fry means a lot to the church’s bottom line.

“Takes a lot of money to keep the lights on, keep the boilers working in good working order. So we need the money. Number one and number two, during lent it’s our parish’s way of giving back,” said Rosie Marich, a St. Brendan parishioner.

This is the 30th year for Saint Brendan’s fish fries. Some of the volunteers, like Patty Infante and John Coudriet, have been here nearly all that time, but recently they’ve seen inflation eating into their profits.

“To put a plate of food together is anywhere from $8 to $10. So in order to make a little bit of a profit for the church, we raised our price to $14 for dinner,” said Marich.

To make everything run smoothly takes 50 to 60 people; both in the cafeteria putting meals together and in the kitchen making the food. Each piece of fish is breaded and then fried for about three minutes before being packaged to meet orders as they come in.

Parishes like Saint Brendan’s have had to change with the times. During the Covid pandemic, many parishes were forced to cancel their events. This year, Saint Brendan’s is offering take-out only, because its hard to find enough volunteers.

“We have some new volunteers this year, which is really a God send, but we could use some more help always,” said Marich.

If you didn’t get your fish today, there’s still time. Saint Brendan’s will be serving dinners each Friday through the end of March.