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Soroptimist International of St. Helena plans lobster feed, block party

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The word carcinisation refers to evolution’s weird tendency to gradually turn living organisms into crabs.

Soroptimist International of St. Helena is going in the opposite direction, transforming its traditional crab feed into a lobster feed.

The lobster feed will be part of a block party scheduled for 5:30-11 p.m. Saturday, June 4, outside the former St. Helena Catholic School on Oak Avenue.

Soroptimist member Patty DiTomaso explained that the club, which advocates on behalf of women and girls, usually holds its crab feed in February, which is prime crab season. This year the COVID-19 omicron variant wreaked havoc with that schedule, so the club had to cancel the event.

“We decided we needed to do something because we hadn’t had a fundraiser for two years,” DiTomaso said. “We’ve been dipping into our savings accounts so we could keep funding the things that are important to us.”

Courtney Menegon, a member of Soroptimist, happens to run a catering company that specializes in lobster, so she offered her services.

The June 4 event will include live, silent and dessert auctions, raffles, carnival games, music and a full bar.

“We used to have neighborhood block parties, and we wanted to bring back that experience people haven’t been able to have for a few years,” Menegon said. “This is one of those events where members of the community can walk from their homes, enjoy a block party, and then go out and support places like Ana’s and Goose and Gander like they traditionally do after the crab feed.”

Soroptimist International of St. Helena has about 20 active members. It provides grants like the Live Your Dream Award, which helps single moms go back to school and improve their economic prospects, and the Women Helping Women Assistance Grant, which provides direct assistance to local women struggling to make ends meet.

It also offers scholarships to college-bound students, primarily (but not exclusively) young women. GPA isn’t the only criterion.

“There are some kids with a 3.0 who have done community service and FFA,” Menegon said. “They’re outstanding students who’ve put so much effort into these outside projects.”

The club is also involved in the Monarch Justice Center in Napa, which serves victims of elder abuse, sexual assault, sex trafficking, domestic violence and child abuse.

Tickets to the 21-and-over lobster feed and block party are $125. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test are required. Go to sisthelena.org.

More than 90 years after starting, Maine's oldest lobster harvester is still doing it at age 101. Virginia Oliver is the oldest lobster fisher in the state and possibly the oldest one in the world.

You can reach Jesse Duarte at (707) 967-6803 or jduarte@sthelenastar.com.

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St. Helena Editor

Jesse has been a reporter for the St. Helena Star since 2006. He became editor in 2021.

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