Shrimp & Fish Fry for charity

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

The Rotary Club of Port Isabel is gearing up to host their annual Shrimp and Fish Fry on Saturday, Feb. 5.

The fundraising fish fry will take place from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Schlitterbahn Beach Resort on South Padre Island.

According to Rotarian Bettina Tolin, the event originally began as a welcome to Winter Texans and was sponsored by the South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce. The Rotory Club of Port Isabel has been running hosting it for the past 15 years, she said.

All the proceeds from the event go towards funding the philanthropic efforts of the Rotary Club. “All the proceeds stay in the local community, like our scholarships for our high school students,” Tolin said. The Club funds four scholarships a year. It also provides dictionaries for the Laguna Madre’s elementary school students.

“We also have an emergency fund for our community,” Tolin said. Residents who find themselves in sudden need, such as after an accident or a house fire, can apply for assistance from the fund, Tolin said.

Last year’s event netted approximately $6,000 and Rotarians served about 600 people their fill of fried fish filets, shrimp, coleslaw and hush puppies. The menu will be the same this year, as well. Though the fish filets are all you can eat, Tolin said the shrimp will be a single serving per person. Drinks can be purchased from a cash bar.

The event will also feature several informational booths from area non-profit organizations. Local Boy Scouts will be selling tickets to their upcoming Pancake Breakfast, while blood donations will be accepted beginning at 10:30 a.m. Entertainment will be provided via karaoke by Angela.

The shrimp and fish fry will occur “rain or shine,” Tolin said.

“I like this event because it’s outdoors,” she said. “The money all stays in the community,” she continued.

For Tolin, who serves as chef at Marcello’s in Port Isabel, giving back to the community is important – the bonds created by serving with her fellow Rotarians are even more so. “I love being a Rotarian because it’s all about other people. Our motto is ‘service above self’,” she said.

“You build some special friendships. … It’s a really special place,” she said.

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