Team Pierogi, a diversified group of committed pierogi artisans, that gather for fellowship, fun and pierogi. Located to the left of the rectory and down the alleyway entrance, in the parking lot, you will find a talented East Side community cooking up the lenten pierogi. St. John Kanty's kitchen is commercial size and contains a walk-in cooler and two freezers. Based on the size of the kitchen, located in the former school's cafeteria, there is more than enough room for an assembly line of workers preparing to make up to 12,000 pierogi for the upcoming lenten season. The historic fundraising sale started more than 30 years ago and currently one of the largest fundraisers for the East Side parish.
The tradition started with Sally Siejak and Dolores Slazak were selling fish fries. Although fish fries are no longer prepared, the Polish pierogi has been a mainstay and the most successful endeavors for parish revenue. Team Pierogi members start gathering from mid-January up to and including Palm Sunday with more than 20 volunteers. Several members on Team Pierogi are graduates of the parish school, which closed in 1992.
St. John's Kanty's kitchen is currently led by Diane Czajka, for the past 10 years, who stated, "The reason we get the business we do is because our pierogi are the real Polish pierogi in taste and size, and not a mini pierogi." The parish has strong Polish roots, so the food is guranteed authentic. Kanty's kitchen is well known for their large pierogi, tastful ingredients, and authentic presentation. Once you make your purchase at the annual Lenten sale, you will know immediately your pierogi was prepared with the best ingredients, warm fellowhip, enthusiasm, and an assembly line of love and gratitude. The assembly process starts with boiling, then cooling, packing and finally freezing in their walk-in cooler.
Czajk also mentioned, "that all of these women are like mothers to me" and all of us have such a good time, even the men who participate, they really enjoy themselves." Volunteers will either roll dough, fill pierogi, mix batter, crack eggs, or just make dough balls.
When everyone is in the kitchen they all work together and continue to have fun and fellowship.Currently there are 12 members working on an average rotation. However, Kanty's Kitchen is looking for volunteers so they can have enough people to cover shifts in the evenings. The goal for this Lenten season is 12,000 pierogi. Two fillings,farmers cheese and sauerkraut with mushrooms, will be available for $9, and placek, a tasty coffee cake, for $6. Last year Kanty's kitchen sold 998 placeks.
Additional volunteers are needed from 4:30-8 p.m. If you would like to volunteer please call Barb Myszkiewicz in the church office at 716-893-0412 or visit www.saintjohnkanty.com for more information. Starting March 9, before and after weekend masses: 3 - 5 p.m., on Saturday and 9:30 a.m. - noon on Sunday through Palm Sunday, April 14. On Palm Sunday, a lunch will be served and a basket raffle will be held.