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St. Paul fundraiser a 44-year tradition

Hot dogs and barbecue ribs won’t be the only foods sizzling for outdoor occasions this month.

On May 18, members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in DeKalb will serve lobsters for their annual Lobster Boil at the church on 900 Normal Road. The lobsters come straight from Massachusetts, and anyone interested has until Monday to make their order for lobsters, whether alive or cooked.

The Lobster Boil tradition has existed within St. Paul’s for 44 years, said Rosemarie Ostberg, treasurer for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Women. Edward Fitzgerald, who moved to DeKalb from Massachusetts, would boil lobsters for the General Electric staff in DeKalb, according to St. Paul’s website.

In 1969, Norma Fitzgerald and Mary Roberts organized the first Lobster Boil, according to St. Paul’s website.

Ostberg said Fitzgerald chose to boil lobsters for his staff because they were commonly eaten in Massachusetts. However, lobsters were not a common dish served in restaurants in those days, she said.

“It’s a deluxe thing,” Ostberg said.

Since then, St. Paul’s has contributed more than 50 percent of the profits from the Lobster Boil to local charities and agencies such as Safe Passage, Voluntary Action Center and Hope Haven. The leftover money goes to St. Paul’s church to fund various activities.

“The fact that the money is going to local charities in DeKalb and agencies impresses people a lot,” Ostberg said.

In 2011, 10 local charities and agencies received nearly $500 each from St. Paul’s, according to St. Paul’s website. In 2010, nine local social services organizations were each given $525 from the 2009 Lobster Boil event.

Lesly Wicks, executive director for Hope Haven, said Hope Haven has received donations from the Lobster Boil event for many years. The money helps fund programs that let homeless people stay at the shelter for a night.

Wicks said the need for fundraising events such as the Lobster Boil are becoming more important as state funds for social services are being cut.

“You get a wonderful lobster meal and you get to help the community,” Wicks said.

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