If you’re looking for something to do Saturday, a Maryville church is combining catfish and community service as a way to help local nonprofits.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 314 W. Broadway Ave., will host its first “Catfish Fry” from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday at the church. Attendees can fill up on fried catfish (courtesy of chef Bob Shaffer), slaw, hushpuppies, fries and drinks. For those who don’t care for catfish, WoodmenLife will provide grilled chicken. The cost for the smorgasbord of flavor is $15 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-11 and free for those 4 and under. Tickets will be available at the door.
Entertainment will be part of the experience. Beginning at noon, folksingers John and Michele Didiego will share their music. They will be followed by Cats Away at 1 p.m. and storyteller Charles Maynard. Blues/jazz pianist Stu Hammond will take the spotlight at 2 p.m., while the Bob Sullivan Family will sing at 3 p.m. Rounding out the day will be folksinger Frank DeGenarro at 5 p.m. and gospel group Truth Is at 6 p.m.
Games of Twister, frisbee, corn hole and horseshoes will take place on the lawn.
This event, said organizers Stu Hammond and Barb Schneider, has taken the place of Garden Day this year. The church felt like it was time to mix things up a bit, they said. Kathy Wilbanks has worked along with the two for months to aid the event’s success.
Similarities to Garden Day
“Some of the Garden Day events are carrying over,” Hammond said. Pottery made by the pottery class at St. Andrew’s will be for sale, as will knitted and quilted items. Home and garden items will be stocked, too. A bake sale will ensure that everyone has dessert there or sweets to take home.
Garden Day has been an annual event for years. Attendees could come and purchase plants and garden supplies and help great causes. That is also going to continue with the Catfish Fry. Hammond said the same four nonprofits that Garden Day supported will benefit from this special day — Community Food Connection of Blount County, Good Neighbors of Blount County, Family Promise of Blount County and the local Habitat for Humanity. All of the proceeds will be distributed to these agencies that help Blount County families in crisis.
The other popular fundraiser at St. Andrew’s is the annual Holiday Bazaar held in November. The two events typically raise more than $20,000 for these nonprofits. Hammond said they are hopeful the Catfish Fry will bring in plenty of hungry guests who will help the cause.
Community Food Connection is a food ministry that provides food to struggling families. It is located on Whitecrest Drive in Maryville and was founded in 1991. A group of churches, concerned citizens and the Blount County Ecumenical Action Council pooled resources to fight hunger. Families are able to come every two weeks to receive food. CFC serves more than 6,000 people per month.
Good Neighbors has the mission of helping Blount Countians out of temporary crisis. It provides limited financial assistance for things like past due utility bills or rent along with volunteer coaches who help individuals find solutions. It does all of that with many volunteers and one paid staff member.
Good Neighbors moved onto the campus of St. Andrew’s earlier this year.
Family Promise is enjoying its new day center at the former Bungalow United Methodist Church in Maryville after years of growth. The organization takes homeless families into its emergency assistance programs and also has transitional housing and aftercare. Churches provide emergency housing for the families in the program.
Habitat for Humanity has built numerous homes in the community and is gearing up for the next Women Build, set for next year. Families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford a home are able to do so with volunteer workers and low monthly mortgages.
“We concentrate on these four because of the needs they serve,” Hammond said. “They take care of the basic dire needs of people.”