Utica, N.Y. - Churches are struggling these days, as their members cannot come in for service, so the donations in many cases have come to a standstill.
St. Louis Gonzaga Maronite Catholic Church on Rutger Street in Utica has come up with a way to make some cash to help pay the bills, and it's a sweet way that may catch on with other churches.
The church has set up a drive-thru, to sell their sweet fried dough, also called pizza fritte in Italian, and in Lebanese it's called zalabia.
Church Pastor Father Boutros Elhachem says when church is in session, members fry up some dough for get-togethers after the Sunday mass, but they haven't been able to hold service because of the coronavirus pandemic, so the fryers went silent, until last week that is.
Last Saturday, with beautiful weather and getting the word out on social media, Father Elhachem says the cars came, and came, and came, "I want to say thank you for your generosity, thank you for loving our church and thank you for loving this event and this action, because we need each other in this difficult situation."
Father Elhachem says the church made about $2,000 last Saturday and the hope is to bring in about the same amount today.
He says this is also a great way to see many church members again, safely, through their car windows.
Father Elhachem says safety precautiuons are taken by all of the church member volunteers who put the fried dough together, inlcuding all wearing masks and gloves.
Jacque Murad of New York Mills is a lifelong parishioner of the church and says she was very glad to drive up and pick up some fried dough Saturday morning, "We love our church. They support us and we support them and we're so happy that we can still at least drive by and say hello."
The church will continue selling the fried dough for $2.00 each Saturday until church is reopened for service. The hours are from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. at the church parking lot at 520 Rutger Street in Utica.