CINCINNATI — Two thousand handmade meatballs, hundreds of hungry dinner guests and over 80 years of tradition.
There’s a lot that goes into San Antonio Italian Chapel’s annual spaghetti dinner, and organizers hope the fundraiser will help feed folks beyond Sunday’s Italian feast.
The tradition — and the recipes — can be traced back to the South Fairmount church’s early days, when San Antonio parishioners began a benefit for the choir.
“They started making it, and over the years that’s the recipe. We’ve been fortunate enough that we still have it and we can build on it and use it for this,” said Dave Sabatelli, the president of San Antonio’s Men’s and Ladies’ Sodality.
All donations from Sunday’s dinner go to the church’s Lunch on the House program, which can feed about 200 people for free each month.
“That’s for everyone in the neighborhood — anyone can come for it. It’s free, we don’t charge anybody for it but we put on a really good meal,” Sabatelli said of the Lunch on the House program.
For Sunday’s dinner, Sabatelli says it takes a whole week to get ready. That includes hand-making the meatballs and cooking the sauce from scratch for over 700 people expected to attend.
“It’s something to give back, and I like to cook. Everybody down here cooks, that’s the one thing everybody does. They all cook,” he said.
But the hard work is worth it to watch the community come together and join in for a worthy cause.
“Everybody is somewhat related, you might say, but we just enjoy the parish is what it really is — everyone is family down here,” he said.