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Meatball Dinner to help food shelf

DL Breakfast Rotarians serve up a homemade dinner of meatballs, mashed potatoes, corn and dessert. Proceeds from the fundraiser go to help the Becker County Food Pantry. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Members of the Detroit Lakes Breakfast Rotary will soon be rolling up their sleeves and performing their ever-popular meatball magic.

The group’s annual Swedish Meatball Dinner is just around the corner and is expected to pull in upwards of 700 meatball-loving, hungry-mouthing Detroit Lakes area residents.

The event is set for Tuesday, March 11, at the M State Cafeteria beginning at 4:30 p.m. and going until 7.

“We’re generally pretty busy throughout that whole time, too,” said Breakfast Rotarian Tom Seelye, who is co-chairing the event with fellow Rotarian Harrietta Kalberer.

They are only two of about 40 Rotarians and several high school Interact students who will be working the event to help make things run smooth as the butter in the mashed potatoes.

“We’ll also have gravy, corn, rolls, coffee and a dessert,” said Kalberer, who says the big meatballs have been made from the same secret recipe for years. “I can’t share it,” she joked, “then everybody would make them at home and nobody would show up.”

The supper is set up in a buffet line for fast service with a separate line for people wanting their meals on the go.

“We started this two years ago where we’ll just serve it up in a Styrofoam container for people to take home or to somebody who maybe is homebound,” said Kalberer.

The Rotarians are asking for a minimum donation of $6 for adults and $3 for children with proceeds going straight to the Becker County Food Pantry.

“It’s March, and so this is the month where the pantry gets their donations matched,” said Kalberer, “so it ends up being a very worthy cause.”

Kalberer adds that the Meatball Dinner also gives the community an opportunity to help the Rotarians live out their motto of service above self.

“It’s all age groups getting together for this, and it’s one night where you don’t have to cook and you’re doing a good thing at the same,” said Kalberer, adding that it’s fun for the Rotarians to see both the new faces and the familiar ones that make the event every year.

Kalberer says preparation for the big event starts the evening before as a group of Rotarians meet for the meat.

“That’s when we roll out all of the meatballs,” she explained. “We have a great time; it’s fun from the rolling of the meatballs to the cleaning of the kitchen because there are a lot of laughs, a lot of light-hearted people, and you can expect to be greeted with a smile.”

“I think for both Rotary and the community it’s just a real opportunity to rub shoulders and get together and eat a very good meal,” added Seelye. “And I think people like knowing the reason behind it and that they’re helping the hungry.”

There are no tickets for the dinner; simply show up and donate.

For more information on the event, contact Harrietta Kalberer at 849-5753 or Tom Seeley at 841-4148.