Fish Fry Friday Special Report: Church of the Assumption Launches Recycling Team

This is probably one of the most awesome blogging outcomes I’ve ever discovered. The folks at the Church of the Assumption in Bellevue have regularly followed my reviews and always taken time to thank me for constructive feedback.

Recently, I learned that the volunteers met sometime after the first Friday in Lent and decided to implement an official Recycling Team. The team includes an adult and the students who regularly work at the fish fry. This is huge news.

In my 2017 review summary of ALL of the fish fries, I wrote:

The environmental stewardship is a significant issue. The fish fries are doing harm to the earth and to our communities based on the waste they produce. This is the reason – the sole reason – I might discontinue this feature. I can’t stand to see so much styrofoam used along with disposable everything. There was no evidence of recycling, even of cans and bottles, but I allow for the fact that maybe it takes place behind the scenes. This is especially worrisome when it comes to communities focused on children (aka Catholic Schools) which should be recycling warriors.

What I’d love to see is the Diocese of Pittsburgh (and the Elks regional lodges) team up with the Pennsylvania Resources Council to apply zero waste techniques to the fish fries and other community events. Leveraging the assets of the larger diocese will make it more fiscally possible to implement even small changes in the poorest of the parishes. If the Diocese coordinated the purchase of compostable plates and tableware on a diocesan scale, for example. Or implemented a composting program at every Catholic school – you can’t compost fish, but you can certainly compost many of the side dishes.

Students were glad to see recycling bins.

According to Assumption parent and long-time volunteer Angela Bakaysza Garcia who reached out to me as soon as she heard:

T[]he person is from the parish and volunteered to do all the cleaning and processing of the recycling as a volunteer. It was easy to kick off because the kids are the primary servers/bussers.

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And they are used to recycling…i think we need to get the students to make some signs and let the other volunteers and customers know.

They are recycling can, plastic bottles and the plastic containers from the dessert tray. The church already has reusable dishes and flatware, so this reduces waste to essentially the leftover food, the wrappers, the placemats and so forth. The condiments are in large reusable bottles. And then there’s the styrofoam takeout containers. But one step at a time.

This is a big step. It is a lot more work, but it is more consistent with the worldview most of the students experience as Generation Z than with what we grew up with in our Catholic church halls. With the right promotion to the diners, it sends a clear message about the importance of sustainability and caring for the earth as a value of this faith community.

And it shows that a Catholic parish can incorporate constructive feedback from a lesbian blog into their major fundraising event. That’s not something I take lightly. I blogged with respect and as an informed Catholic; they listened and took what I said to heart. How often do you hear of Catholic groups doing that?

Again, Angela:

We have an amazing community of parents and students dedicated to service and stewarding our resources constructive feedback was taken seriously and was the spark that some folks needed to put a process in place. It’s completely in line with our values.

Assumption is a reliably good fish fry that usually wins multiple categories each year. This may warrant a special recognition. And I hope other parishes (and the Diocese) take heed of how to take baby steps toward incorporating stewardship values into the fish fries (and other events!)

Sadly, Assumption was knocked out of The Incline Fish Fry Bracket during the semi-final round, but they deserve huge accolades for this change in the middle of the season. I hope you will make time to go to Bellevue to enjoy a good meal (cole slaw!) and enjoy a pop with your dessert. Minimal waste if you can each your whole portion of fish and bun.

Please read each of our Assumption reviews.

And please share this post. They don’t have to take my word for it at your local fish fry. They can reach out to Assumption and get some feedback.

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  • Thank you so much for these reviews. They are indeed informative, constructive, and fun! My wife and I are going to Church of the Assumption tonight!

  • Thanks so much for this nice post about Assumption’s new recycling effort. The volunteers at the Fish Fry are the best. Still, time to visit. Next week Angela Garcia’s (mentioned in this post) 11-year-old daughter V and I are facing off in the ultimate dessert challenge. The first one who has all of her desserts purchased wins bragging rights. I have my work cut out for me. V is quite a baker. 🙂

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