Fish Fry For Life’s proceeds benefit local pro-life organizations

Sabrina Lopez, Reporter

Catholics and Protestants alike came out in droves Friday, Feb. 16 to support the ninth annual Fish Fry for Life. Like the previous year’s the event took place in the parish hall of St. Francis of Assisi Church, where guests were treated to generous helpings of lightly fried fish, mounds of golden French fries, and some tasty coleslaw. This fundraising event was started nine years ago by The Right to Life Kern County who partnered with Monsignor Craig F. Harrison. Monsignor Craig is the pastor who presides over Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, who is aligned with the Catholic Church and its staunch position on the right to life.

The fish fry for life event kicked off the same week that Catholics all around the world celebrated Ash Wednesday and the beginning of lent, by abstaining from meat on Fridays.
“This event isn’t necessarily a huge money maker for us but it makes just enough money that we need,” said Marylee Schrider, executive Director of Right to Life Kern County.

Schrider was a part of last year’s Fish Fry event “it was a success, the amount of fish and chip dinners sold came out to be 1,400 and funds raised topped around $18,000 dollars.  This year’s goal was to sell around that same figure and possibly raise those same funds if not a little bit more.”

Proceeds from Fish Fry for Life are predominantly put towards supporting local Pro-Life efforts, but as Schrider so pointedly put it, “we are for the right to life; from conception to natural death; we don’t just worry about the pre-born we worry about the folks at the end of life.”

Schrider elaborated on who the funds benefit, “the Right to Life Kern County, offers two leaders for life scholarships every spring to graduating seniors from local high schools. We go along-side students looking to start Pro-life youth clubs on their campuses, and gear up for the college campus outreach program we have. Where we go to challenge students to question what it is they think they know about abortion and give them alternatives.”

Thuy Vivu has been a parishioner at St. Francis parish for the past 11 years and has been attending the Fish Fry for Life since its beginning, “It means a lot to me. As a Roman Catholic we inherently respect life from the time of conception to the natural process of death.” Another prominent board member in attendance was Treasurer Annie Elrod, who is not Catholic but a Protestant. She has been a part of board for three years but has been involved with Fish Fry for Life for the past five years.

Elrod recognizes the battle any and all pro-life positons face, but admits the biggest one is trying to connect with millennials, “I believe the Right to life is making a change in the community, by actually trying to educate people why it’s so important when we write to our politicians and Sacramento to not pass these laws that abort children. Aborting children at such a late time with their ears eyes feet and nose, seeing an ultrasound changes the mind significantly… being pro-life is important, this is a fact based club, and we educate and give the facts. I truly believe if they knew the facts they would change their mind and their position.”

Elrod understands that this is a sensitive issue due to abortion being at the forefront  of any issue involving life, and how the opposition can see pro-lifers as not loving and only care for unborn babies. She ardently disagrees, “People who are for life, are loving and caring to the baby and also to the mother… and wanting to let her know there is always another option instead of terminating choose adoption… but we are not just for the unborn, but for the terminally ill, and the elderly. No one can put a value on life because all lives are important, Womb to the Tomb.”