North Shore Rotary FISH FRY Fundraiser Set Earlier This Year, on April 20

By David Taylor
Managing editor

Danna Niño has a big task as the fundraising chairman for the North Shore Rotary Club. She changed the date of the annual Catfish Fry and Crawfish Boil for the first time in more than a decade, to Saturday, April 20.

For at least 15 years, everyone has known that the fundraiser is the Saturday following Mother’s Day. The common knowledge of the date has led to its success and ease in planning for everyone involved. However, the last few years have presented problems with the date.

“Last year, Channelview ISD hosted their graduation on the same day, and we’ve been talking about changing the date for a number of years, particularly during COVID,” she explained.

Danna presented her change to the club, who gave her the thumbs up.

“We work with our club member Dan Meaux, who is in charge of the crawfish, and he’s warned us that the hotter months of May in the last few years have produced sub-par size crawfish, making it harder to find large ones,” something that didn’t sit well with Niño and others in the club.

“We want to have the best product we can serve our community,” she said, and that included having to raise the price a few years back a nominal amount from $10 to $12 to accommodate the rising prices.

“We could have just any catfish, but we always ask for the best farm fresh,” Niño said.

Last year, the heat was enough to cause one person to be overcome while at the fundraiser.

Changing the date will solve a couple of problems but create a few more.

“Keeping the same date will conflict with Easter next year,” she said, so she’s already resigned to the fact the date may continue to shift.

Danna is calling on the public to help her get the word out because the fundraiser is dependent upon the overwhelming support they have received in the past.

“The date is going to be a battle, but we have a great club and community whose very supportive. We’ll work it out,” she said.

Another problem for Danna is that the earlier date also means early deadlines.

“This week is the last week we can take sponsorships because tickets, banners, and posters have to be printed the following week,” she said.

There are three different levels of sponsorship: Silver for $2,500, Gold at $5,000, and $10,000 for Diamond. Each level has their own benefits including food tickets, raffle tickets, shirts, caps, wristbands for the full bar, and media opportunities.

It also means a shorter timetable to sell tickets, which will now be available in the last week of January and will be sold by every member of the club.

Food ticket prices are $12, and the raffle tickets remain at $100, which also includes two meal tickets. Food service is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“We have a cap on how many raffle tickets we will sell at 2,500,” she said.

There are 25 prizes in the drawing, the top one being a choice between two vehicles.

There is a silent auction which businesses in the area can donate to and a live auction that begins after noon.

The largest portion of the money that is raised is for scholarships. Every year, the scholarship committee interviews students for area districts who apply for the funding and receives varying amounts according to their need.

Money is also dispersed to youth programs, senior citizens programs, veterans, and the annual Christmas food basket giveaways. This year they increased the number of baskets for needy families to 100 for each of the three school districts: Channelview, Galena Park, and Sheldon.

“This year we also partnered with the county and brought back the bicycles for kids too,” she said.

The Rotary Club has for years partnered with other organizations and government to provide amenities throughout the North Channel area including the Rotary Pavilion, the baseball park in North Shore, water park and pavilion in Cloverleaf, park in Channelview, and most recently, the Yellow Bird Park and Trails behind the county courthouse on Wallisville Road.

“Often, we have people in the community or businesses who just give us money for the fundraiser and don’t want the tickets or any prizes, just to support the work we do in the community,” Danna said.

She has picked, “It’s Time!” as her theme for this year.

“I kept it simple. It’s time for Rotary. It’s time for the community to come together. It’s time to raise money. It’s Time,” she said.

To get more information on the Rotary fundraiser to buy tickets or become a sponsor, contact Danna at 713-410-5352.