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Carbondale church busy making meatballs for annual tradition

The annual spaghetti dinner is back this year, and volunteers at Our Lady of Mount Carmel are hard at work getting ready.

CARBONDALE, Pa. — If you can't tell by the taste, you can certainly tell by watching how they're made: the volunteers at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Carbondale know what they're doing when it comes to making meatballs.

"We even have quality control to make sure they're all round," said Yvonne Gatto.

When you have a tradition that's been around for more than 50 years, you earn a reputation that takes a lot of time and effort to uphold.

"It pays off because we have so many people coming to the kitchen window and telling us, 'this was the best dinner ever!'" said Gatto.

"We've had many people call and say, 'Ann, are you doing it again? Are you doing the spaghetti supper?'" said Ann Cieciorka, president of the church's Altar & Rosary Society.

To prepare for the nearly 1,200 hungry people who are expected to come for dinner next Wednesday and Thursday, two whole days are devoted to just the sauce.

"8 pots of sauce for each day. So you're talking a lot of sauce," said Cieciorka.

And another two for the meatballs, which makes sense considering the volunteers are making 3,000 of them.

"And we ran out, two years ago, the last time we did this, we ran out of them," Cieciorka said.

The dinner was canceled last year because of the pandemic. People certainly missed the homemade meatballs, but even more so, they missed each other.

"It was very depressing. This is so much fun. It's a lot of work, but it's tremendous fun," said Gatto.

"Oh, I missed the people. The joy that we have putting it together, and then having the people come and sit and enjoy it, and see smiling faces, that's our big thing," said Mary Fran Grandinetti.

All are welcome October 6th and 7th at Our Lady of Mount Carmel; these volunteers won't stop serving until everyone's plate is full or until they run out.