It's a well-loved San Antonio tradition and the biggest fundraiser of the year for the 100 Club. The service organization that helps the families of first responders cut down in the line of duty is hosting a big, delicious Italian spaghetti dinner on Saturday and Sunday.
The cooking has already started downtown at the Christopher Columbus Italian Society Hall for what they hope will be their best year ever.
They are measuring mounds of spices and frying up vegetables of all sorts to create a secret spicy sauce to accompany the 15,000 meatballs volunteers will hand roll on Friday.
“Last year, we served a little over 6,000 plates of spaghetti and meatballs. This year our goal is 7,000,” said volunteer Adam Zeldes, who noted that the event is more important than ever this year because of the tragic losses suffered by first responders. “This year is hard because we lost Ben Marconi in November of last year. In the last week, we lost Miguel Moreno and one month ago we lost Fireman Scott Deem, who succumbed to a fire. It's been a tragic year for first responders in San Antonio."
Sam Guido wears many volunteer hats in service of this event, as his father did before him and his sons are now doing as well. Guido said that the recipe for the delicious sauce is a treasure, lovingly handed down through the generations.
“This is a recipe that's been in this Italian community probably, I'd say, over 150 years. The club, the Columbus Society is 125 years old, so this started way back then, with grandfathers and everybody else from the old country," Guido explained. “I like sharing it because it's very unique. A lot of people don't do this kind of flavoring for their sauce."
Russ Van Geffen said that he volunteers for a number of reasons.
“It's a great time, a great cause, great fun. You meet great people and you’re serving a great cause for the community,” Van Geffen said.
Club members said that everyone is invited to show up for the dinner and help them live up to the 100 Club motto: "Hope out of tragedy."
“And anybody can become a member," Zeldes said. "All's you have to do is go to the website.”
If you'd like to help support the 100 Club of San Antonio, you can visit their official website here.