By: Randal DeMartini
Executive Director, SBGC San Francisco
On February 6th, the Salesian Boys’ and Girls’ Club at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco continued its decades’ long tradition of having a crab cioppino fundraiser each winter. Normally, we are able to hold four separate dinners, each with approximately six hundred people in attendance over the course of several weeks in the months of January and February. Because of Covid, obviously, we could not do that this year. Well, the one-time attempt at doing “Cioppino at Home” got rave reviews. After much planning by our events manager, Jill Standlee, Chief Operations’ Officer, Sherri Hughston, and Board of Directors’ President, Bill Lazzaretti, we had pre-orders of approximately two-hundred and fifty “to go” boxes, each intended to serve four people at their homes. The packages contained our usual antipasti of salami, mortadella, cheese and olives, a loaf of Boudin bread, salad, dry pasta to cook at home, and, of course, ample amounts of crab, marinated and “cioppino style.”
Long-time board member, Mike Cardella, who has cooked at our summer camp for over the past thirty years, joined head chef and board member, Rich Azzolino to prepare the marinated, and cioppino sauces, the bolognese pasta sauce, Caesar salad dressing, and to make sure the packaging and instructions were “just right.” They wanted to create a “Hello Fresh” type of experience at home. Short plug -ifyou have not been to Rich’s North Beach Restaurant, “Sotto Mare,” (which Fr. Mel has, and loves!), stop by for unbelievable seafood and fish. We were fortunate to have several sponsors help defray costs, especially Original Joe’s Restaurant, Moresco Distributing Co., Rich and Laura Azzolino, Ital Foods, Lettieri Co. and Rodney D’Acqusito along with the many volunteers who gave of their time to help make this day so successful. Honestly, I never realized how much packing costs! One of the nice touches, I was told, was at the drive through pickup our community members were greeted by over a dozen of our high schoolers who had helped package all of the boxes, and eagerly deposited these food treasure chests in donors’ car trunks or back seats. It would not have been a Sa\esian event without our young! We were able to raise over $25,000.