By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Cod fish and crab cakes and a whole lot more. It’s all part of a major Lenten fundraiser at a Canton school.

Ron Matz has more on dedicated volunteers of the St. Casimir Coddie Crew.

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Bernie Fieden’s been working all night.

“I’m on my way to deliver some cod,” Fieden said. “These people in Fells Point want their fish for Friday.”

He’s part of the St. Casimir Coddie Crew.

“This is such a party. These folks work so hard. Whenever Mary has a need for people to come, she yells. And we answer her call,” said Fieden, parent and volunteer.

They’re cooking up delicious coddies and crab cakes.

“We do anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 coddies per week. We do anywhere from 125 to 175 crab cakes per week. We also sell about 50 pounds of potato salad, 75 pounds of cole slaw and 60 pounds of macaroni salad on average every week. Sometimes there can be even more,” said Lauren Matoska, St. Casimir parent and Lenten food services chair.

It’s the school’s annual Lenten food fundraiser.

“It takes about five days’ worth of work to plan. We have to buy all of our inventory. Three days in, we soak our fish. The fourth day in we make our salads, and on the fifth day we sell,” Matoska said.

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It’s all to raise money for St. Casimir School.

“It’s pretty important to our school. Our school is trying to keep our tuition down for our students. The Home School Association raises $90,000 for that to happen. This is the biggest fundraiser we have. Last year, they raised $30,000 of that $90,000 doing this,” said Noreen Heffner, St. Casimir School principal.

Eight-year-old Nate Matoska has been working all night.

“I’ve been sleeping, like taking quick naps, so I can regenerate my power so I can start working again,” he said.

“It takes a lot of volunteer hours to pull it all together,” Lauren Matoska said. “Thursday is our busiest day. We have about 30 to 35 volunteers coming in, and they’ll pull anywhere from a four-hour shift to a 24-hour shift. Some people work all night. We hope to raise $40,000 or $50,000.”

The big fundraiser begins on Ash Wednesday and continues for six weeks.

“An amazing amount of work goes into this,” Heffner said. “These parents have been here all night. They started on Wednesday. There are mattresses on the floor. Kids are sleeping here. It’s amazing.”

It’s a 75-year-old tradition, a Fry Friday with blessings from Canton.

St. Casimir School will continue to take orders for their Lenten foods through April 11. For more information, click here.

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