Above: In this photo from January 2020 — the last LJWC spaghetti supper — “Mama Rosalie” Putignano gets ready to serve guests her homemade spaghetti sauce. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma, 2020)
Friday, February 17, 4 – 8 p.m.
by Melanie Jongsma
LANSING, Ill. (February 1, 2023) – It was a cold Friday evening, January 24, 2020, when the Lansing Junior Woman’s Club (LJWC) hosted their annual spaghetti supper at First United Methodist Church (18420 Burnham Avenue). No one knew it would be their last one for a while.
On that same day, January 24, 2020, Illinois health officials had reported the first case of coronavirus in Illinois and the second in the United States. No one knew it would be the first of 4,019,768 COVID cases in Illinois and 36,091 deaths from the disease.
After laying low for 2021 and 2022, the women of LJWC are ready to return to their spaghetti-making tradition again. Because of the COVID break, the February 17 event will be their 12th spaghetti supper in the past 14 years.
Spaghetti and veterans
The spaghetti supper is a fundraiser for the Veteran Appreciation Dinner that LJWC organizes each year. The $12 ticket price buys an authentic spaghetti dinner, complete with salad, garlic bread, and dessert, in addition to helping fund a grand event for veterans in May. This year’s Veteran Appreciation Dinner is scheduled for Thursday, May 11, at Dream Palace Banquet Hall (19825 Stony Island Avenue, Lynwood).
The Veteran Appreciation Dinner includes an abundant meal, entertainment, presentations by elected officials, and tables full of raffle prizes. Hundreds of veterans attend each year, though last year’s numbers were down slightly. “COVID claimed some of our vets,” said LJWC member Gloria Chavez-Gomez, “and the World War II vets are all gone now.” The dinner honors veterans from the Vietnam era through to the current wars.
First United Methodist Church (FUMC) has hosted the spaghetti dinner in the lower level of the church, but the pandemic affected their availability as a gathering place. When the world went into quarantine in March of 2020, FUMC found creative ways to continue ministering — broadcasting Sunday services into the parking lot, for example, where congregants gathered in their socially distanced cars. For the past three years the church has been cautious about returning to normal, in deference to aging and immuno-compromised church members. Now they have lifted gathering restrictions and are open for indoor crowds of more than 20 people.
“We pray that we can get a good turnout, as everyone is still having to slowly get back to normalcy from COVID,” says Chavez-Gomez. The spaghetti supper is a dine-in event at the church, but meals can also be ordered as take-out. Tickets are $12 in advance or $14 at the door.
Ticket orders can be placed by calling 708-466-5503.
Thanks for the GREAT article about the Junior’s Spaghetti dinner. Support the dinner by dining with us or getting a carry out. We enjoy treating the Veterans to a free meal in May as a Thank You for all they have given.
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