Fort Calhoun, Omaha churches are canceling roast fish this season due to a pandemic

FORT CALHOUN, Neb. (WOWT) – Some of the region’s biggest Lent events this year won’t fry fish.

COVID-19 has forced the Holy Name Church in Omaha to cancel their popular seasonal event. Other churches in the area have also canceled their popular annual fry to keep everyone safe.

For more than 20 years there has been fry in the Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist in Fort Calhoun. Over the years, these events have helped pay for the church hall.

Last year the church had two fry before COVID-19 forced it to stop the event.

The event is a large fundraiser that attracts a crowd, sometimes larger than the population of Fort Calhoun.

“Usually we ate a little more than a thousand in the hall and then took somewhere between four and five hundred people.”

This year, however, the hall will be empty as COVID-19 has forced the church to cancel its annual event.

“We just wanted to make sure everyone with this damn virus was safe,” said James Grove, who has been organizing and handling fish roasts for years.

He said the cancellation was a difficult decision.

“We have the seniors who come in during the day to help fill bins and wrap baked potatoes,” Grove said. “You can catch up with some people who you normally don’t see.”

There is more than one meal to be missed; It means missing out on an event that brings the entire community together, Grove said.

“It’s like a family, it’s really a community family,” said volunteer Theresa Jebhardt. “I feel like everyone is kind of hanging out and having a good time.”

The residents hope and pray that things will get better and that these communities will soon be able to come together again safely.

“Hopefully around this time next year we will prepare for another and we won’t have this virus.”

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