VIDEO: Building a school lunch in the Wichita school district
When a dinner happens for 72 years in a row – and is so popular that it requires 600 pounds of poultry, 291 dozen eggs and 800 pounds of flour to pull it off – that dinner is probably pretty decent.
(Never mind the 150 homemade pies.)
Wichita has such a dinner, and it's happening again on Saturday when St. Paul’s United Methodist Church puts on one of Wichita’s most popular church fundraisers – the annual chicken noodle dinner.
The all-you-can-eat meal, which offers homemade chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, coleslaw, bread and homemade pie, happens from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday at the church, which is at the corner of 13th and N. Broadway. Dinners are $10 apiece.
The biggest news out of this year’s dinner: Longtime organizer Cliff Simmons, 85, is finally getting to slow down a bit. Though he still hasn’t retired from putting the dinner together – as he has been vowing to do for the past five years – he has some help. Church member Robert Scott is taking over kitchen responsibilities, and another church member is helping Simmons with all the grocery gathering.
“It’s been quite a learning experience,” Scott said with a laugh. “In the evenings, when I’m sitting in a chair thinking about it, I get kind of worried because it’s such a big undertaking. But I love doing it, and I feel like I’m helping the community and helping the church.”
Also new this year: The church is now set up to accept credit cards as well as cash. And they’ve shortened the dinner by an hour so that their volunteers can clean up and get home by a decent hour.
The dinner draws around 2,500 people and often raises around $23,000, which is used by the men’s club and women’s guild to supplement the church budget and finance missions. Organizers and volunteers spent weeks cooking and cleaning, and their homemade cole slaw is said by many to be one of the best parts of the dinner.
“I’ve heard people say that when they come in and eat it feels like they’re getting a home-cooked meal,” Scott said. “It’s comfort food.”
The dinner is all-you-can-eat and is served family style, though to-go containers also are available. Tickets are available at the door or by calling the church at 316-267-3263.
ST. PAUL’S 72nd ANNUAL CHICKEN AND NOODLE DINNER
What: A fundraising dinner featuring chicken and noodles and sides served family style; carryout also available
When: 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Where: St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 1356 N. Broadway
How much: $10; free for ages 6 and under
Tickets: Available at the door or by calling 316-267-3263.