Lack of product sparks scramble at crab feeds
The "All-You-Can-Eat" Crab Feed fund-raiser scheduled for Salesian College Preparatory this month will happen in the school gym as planned. There is no doubt about that, said Toni Reeder, the school's crab feed coordinator.
"We will have Dungeness crab," Reeder said recently. "If not locally it will likely come from the shores of Alaska." The 49th state is far enough away from the toxin that closed Dungeness crab fishing along parts the coastlines of California, Oregon and Washington.
The "toxin" called domoic acid, is a naturally occurring compound produced by algae. Ingestion of toxin-rich Dungeness crab can cause abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting. Other more serious side effects are seizures, short term loss of memory and coma. The toxic algae has also sickened sea lions and other sea creatures along the coast.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife postponed the start of the crabbing season indefinitely due to high levels of domoic acid along the coast areas of California. Domoic acid also put on hold the crabbing season along the coasts of Oregon and Washington.
The crab feed scheduled to take place at St. Anthony Church in Oakley on Jan. 9 will also happen as advertised. The Knights of Columbus council worked out a new menu plan for its fundraiser. The menu now includes Alaska snow crab to accompany a dinner steak, Caesar salad and dessert. The meal originally priced at $45 has been slashed to $30.
Pablo Quiba, one of the event's organizers, said that the dinner will be different from crab feeds of the past in another way — this year the crab dinner is no longer an "all you can eat" event.
Meanwhile, even though the crab feed planned for Oakland's Holy Names High School won't take place until Feb. 6, organizers have been looking ahead. "We have been keeping an eye on what's happening with the crab season," said Emily Lacroix, HNHS development director. But at the same time "we have been looking at other options" if the local Dungeness crabs are not available by then.
The only way to get Dungeness crab now is to go out-of-state to buy it, which "will likely be expensive," Lacroix said. Fortunately the Oakland high school also has a Plan B — the crab feed will become a spaghetti dinner.
A fundraising event was going to happen on Feb. 6 anyway. While raising funds is important, having an event that brings the Holy Names High School community together is just as important, Lacroix said.
Organizers at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda have also looked carefully at the situation regarding their crab feed. "The crab feed is our biggest and most well attended event of the year, so it is very important for us both financially and from a community building perspective," said Mollie McFarland, assistant principal of Institutional Advancement.
Although hesitant to have it publicized, McFarland said that SJND has decided to do a barbecue this year instead of a crab feed. "Many in our community expressed concern that even if the crab could be accessed it would be three times the price and attendees might still be scared off by all the news. A barbecue will work well this year as our theme is country-western, Denim and Diamonds." The school's BBQ and Auction is scheduled for Feb. 20.
More crab feeds will be listed in the Jan. 18 issue of The Catholic Voice.
Other upcoming dinner fundraisers in the diocese include:
Saturday, Jan. 9
St. Bede School Annual Crab Feed, 5:30 p.m., 26910 Patrick Ave., Hayward. Tickets: $50. Information: www.mystbede.org/?pID=5326 or dial 510-782-3444.
Friday, Jan. 15
16th Annual Crab Feed Bay Area Crisis Nursery (Concord), 7 p.m., in a new venue, Walnut Creek Civic Arts, 111 N. Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek. $60 per ticket; $500 for table of 10. Information: www.bayareacrisisnursery.org.
Jan. 15, 16
Salesian College Preparatory's 51st Annual Crab Feed (serving government-approved Dungeness crab from Alaska) in the school gymnasium, 2851 Salesian Ave., Richmond. Jan. 15 (cocktails at 7 p.m., dinner at 8 p.m.), Jan. 16 (cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m.). Tickets: $50 per person and must be purchased in advance. Hotline: 510-236-4636, ext. 1126, or www.salesian.com.
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