St. James
By Matt Helm
BELVIDERE ─ St. James School of Belvidere will host a series of Fish Fry Dinners from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Friday of the Lenten season ending March 18.
“The fish fry is one of the biggest fundraisers St. James does to raise money for operational expenses and whatever else the school may need,” Anthony Dini, Treasurer of the Home and School Board, said. “This year we’ve done a big push promoting the event to the community.”
The dinner costs $9.50 for adults and $8.50 for seniors sixty and older, with an early bird special of an additional dollar off for seniors who dine between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Family discounts are offered to groups of four or more.
“The most we’ve served is 355 people in three hours and I hope this year we break 400 people,” Dini said.
The dinner is buffet style and includes all you can eat baked or hand beer battered fried cod served with macaroni and cheese, French fries, coleslaw, vegetables, salad and dessert. Coffee and lemonade are provided, along with pop for purchase. Take out is available.”
“It’s Christian tradition to not eat meat on Friday during lent,” Dini said. “We make it very reasonable to get one heck of a great meal at a really decent rate.”
The Fish Fry Dinners are operated by volunteer workers.
St. James 2“Our students volunteer to bus tables and the parents man the kitchen and the food line,” Kelly Hritz said. “The desserts are donated by school families. We’ve gotten progressively bigger year after year so everybody ends up chipping in something.”
The money raised at the event supports St. James School of Belvidere, a private Catholic school that offers Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade.
“We make a pretty good chunk of change and it all provides much needed funds for the school,” Dini said.
St. James School of Belvidere is the only Catholic school in Boone County.
“Our mission is to give a quality, Catholic education in a private setting,” Dini said. “We meet the state guides for curriculum and our test scores range one to four grades above average. We offer sports programs, extra-curricular activities and clubs. It’s a great school and a great community.”
Those who come to all six fish fry dinners receive a coupon stamp and will get two dollars off of their final fish fry meal.
“My kids go to school here so I help out,” volunteer Katie Dini said. “It’s a close-knit family here, everybody knows everybody. You can grow in your faith from kindergarten to the 8th grade.”
All dinners take place at 320 Logan Ave. in Belvidere.
“We pride ourselves in the education the students get,” Dini said. “The children are what everybody is here for. It’s all about making sure they have what they need in order to be successful in life.”

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