Saskatchewan fall suppers move forward with drive-thru fundraisers

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Saskatchewan church and community groups starved for funds are getting creative with one of their biggest fundraisers.

Many are shifting gears with their annual fall suppers, opting for a drive-thru model while the COVID-19 pandemic restricts buffets and gatherings.

“It’s just incredible how good it works,” said Bernie Dombowsky, co-owner of Charlotte’s Catering in Moose Jaw, Sask.

“There’s traffic directors, there’s people who register who is coming through. It’s all pre-ordered and pre-paid.”

Read more: Rural Manitoba communities get creative with socially distanced fall suppers

Dombowsky and his wife, Charlotte, have served fall suppers in southern Saskatchewan for nearly 30 years.

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Last weekend, Charlotte’s Catering served 403 people over two days for the St. James Church fall supper in Regina.

“We just find out how many people in the vehicle and hand it to them and away they went,” said Sheila Thompson, a volunteer with St. James.

The drive-thru idea is being used throughout Saskatchewan this season, with groups promoting events on social media.

Read more: Coronavirus: Saskatoon organizations still celebrating Thanksgiving

Our Lady of Peace in Regina will host its fall supper Friday Oct. 9 and Saturday Oct. 10. Tickets are still available.

Regina’s Heritage United Church originally only scheduled one drive-thru fall supper for 250 people on Saturday Oct. 3. When that quickly sold out, Rev. Joy Cowan said they booked a second event for Sunday.

“The fact that we were able to come up with an idea that we could still have the fundraiser, and also to have people pop by and visit the church,” Cowan said, adding tickets are still available for Oct. 4.

Heritage United first began serving traditional fall suppers in 1989.

Over the decades, the event has helped raised much-needed funds for the church, which has not held in-person service since the COVID-19 pandemic closed parish doors in mid-March.

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Read more: Canadians need to find safe alternatives for Thanksgiving amid coronavirus: experts

“For some people, we haven’t seen them in six months. So this (fall supper) is at least a way to say hello and have that connection,” she said.

Cowan said the church hopes to welcome back some parishioners, with measures in place, on Thanksgiving Day.

Community Baptist Church in Swift Current recently had its kitchen inspected by the Saskatchewan Health Authority ahead of its takeout fall supper on Oct. 3.

Parishioner Vic Giesbrecht said seven volunteers will cook up the full turkey supper for 200 people.

“We’ve used [the supper] for church projects or mission projects, and it’s something we’ve come to depend on each year,” Giesbrecht said, adding tickets are still available.

“We really enjoy doing it and it’s a way for us to have a sense of community.”

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