Back the Pack fundraiser set Saturday in Massena

Back the Pack, which provides healthy weekend snacks to students in Massena schools, is holding its annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser Saturday at the Italian American Club in Massena. This year’s dinner is take-out or delivery. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — Back the Pack’s only fundraiser this year will be a tasty one.

The group, which provides healthy weekend snacks to students in Massena schools, will hold its annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser Saturday at the Italian American Club, 16 Beach St., Massena.

For $8, the meal includes spaghetti and meatballs, bread, salad and dessert. Back the Pack Chair Julianne Paquin said the $8 price has been maintained over the years.

She said that, like last year, Saturday’s meal will be strictly take-out, and orders are being taken now.

“They can order immediately,” she said. “We hope to have all of our pre-orders by Friday afternoon.”

Pickup times will be staggered roughly every half-hour starting at 12:30 p.m., with the last pickup time at 2:30 p.m.

Meals can be pre-ordered by calling 315-250-1968 and indicating pickup or delivery. Deliveries will go out starting at noon. Anyone who doesn’t pre-order can call 315-769-7906 after 2 p.m. Saturday to check on availability of any extra meals.

“But that will be until we sell out, if we have any left,” Mrs. Paquin said.

She suggested calling early. Last year, the first time Back the Pack used the take-out method because of COVID-19, the dinners sold out. The family recipes that are used have been handed down from the early 1900s.

“Everything is cooked fresh,” Mrs. Paquin said. “We have a great crew this year.”

Back the Pack has been around since 2011, and so has the spaghetti dinner at the Italian American Club. Workers plan for about 325 to 330 people, and the kitchen cooks up anywhere from 100 to 200 pounds of spaghetti.

“We sell out every year they’ve done it,” Mrs. Paquin said.

Back the Pack supplies healthy weekend snacks to children in Massena schools. Volunteers gather at Back the Pack’s space at the St. Lawrence Centre mall and pack the snacks that will be given to students. In days gone by, they’d have assistance from other organizations.

“We’re doing a lot of our own packing because of COVID,” she said.

Volunteers also deliver the meals to the schools, and the counselors and principals provide them to students.

With the rising cost of food, Mrs. Paquin said this year’s fundraiser is very important. All of the money raised goes directly to purchase food for the snack packs.

“The cost of our orders for our children have gone up by 25% and close to 30%,” she said. “They just skyrocketed from a year ago.”

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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