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Fish fry and bankruptcy: Buffalo's first Friday of Lent

Posted at 11:49 PM, Feb 28, 2020

TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Fridays during Lent means fish fry for many across Western New York. Joseph Kroczynski has been in charge at Saint Amelia's School fish fry in Tonawanda for more than 15 years.

"We love doing it to see the joy of people coming in. It's like a club, an annual club," Krocynski said. The Catholic school holds a fish fry every Friday during Lent. Seven volunteers man the kitchen cooking up 250 orders. All of the proceeds go back towards the school.

"The price is right. The people are nice. The community is good. I'm a community guy, so I sort of stay in my community and do the best I can," Jerry Niedziela said. He was one of the first for fish fry as a steady stream of people came in throughout the evening.

"It's supporting the church and it's supporting the school and you meet your friends and you don't have to cook," Carol Reingold said. She's been a member of St. Amelia's for 45 years.

But the first Friday of the Lent season in Buffalo was also marked with the announcement of the Diocese declaring bankruptcy. Weather is always a topic of conversation, according to Kroczynski, but adds the news about the Diocese also came up at the dinner table.

"I don't think it effects your faith. That's a financial part. It's not that your faith had anything to do with the finances of the whole situation," Kroczynski said.

Reingold adding, "I believe in my church and there's good and bad in everybody and I guess we can't really pick our people."

"I don't know where the money is going to come from. They're not going to take care of the people as much as they promised, so I have a lot of compassion for everyone in that regard," Niedziela said.