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'A social affair': Ukrainian Cultural Institute offers Lenten lunches

Teresa Kessel cooks for Lenten lunch. (Kayla Henson / The Dickinson Press)1 / 5
Larry Radebaugh fries fish for Friday's Lenten lunch. (Kayla Henson / The Dickinson Press)2 / 5
The desserts are popular at Lenten lunch. (Kayla Henson / The Dickinson Press)3 / 5
Marie Makaruk, one of the founders of the Ukrainian Cultural Institute, browns croutons for Lenten lunch. (Kayla Henson / The Dickinson Press)4 / 5
Evergreen director Darla Baranko (rear center) brought founding members Martha Hryniuk (rear left), Pearl Ewoniuk (rear right) and Agnes Palanua (front) to Lenten lunch. (Kayla Henson / The Dickinson Press)5 / 5

Every year for almost 20 years, the Ukrainian Cultural Institute in Dickinson has offered lunches every Friday during Lent.

The Lenten lunches offer Kase Knoepfla (cheese buttons), pedaheh filled with potato and with sauerkraut (Ukrainian pyrohy or pierogi), fried fish, baked fish, garlic beans, green beans, salad, deviled eggs, pickled beets and desserts.

"I think the only thing that's really Ukrainian are the garlic beans, and the cheese buttons and potato and sauerkraut," said Ruth Radebaugh, who works in the office.

You can eat in the institute or take a meal to go.

"We just had one lady come through, and she said, 'We're supposed to fast today, but look at this!' and she picks up a dessert," Kate Kessel, office staff for the institute, laughed.

Dave Logosz, an Army veteran, has been volunteering at the institute for about 12 years. Since he's retired, he said, he likes donating some of his time to volunteering, and he likes visiting with people in the institute.

"These aren't just Lenten lunches," he said. "For many of the people who come here, this is a social affair. They come and visit. It's not just a meal."

He said the same people come every week and every year.

Marie Makaruk, one of the founding members of the institute, echoed the sentiment. She volunteers her time every year in the kitchen and enjoys visiting with old friends.

"It's always nice when people stop in and visit," Makaruk said. She added that Ukrainians are social people.

Some of the other original members, Agnes Palanua, Pearl Ewoniuk and Martha Hryniuk, come to the institute for Lent every year.

"We try to make it every Friday if we can," said Darla Baranko, director of the ladies' nursing home, Evergreen. "We wanted to make sure we brought the ladies."

All three of the ladies used to make pierogies at home and there, Baranko said. They made them fresh by hand, whereas the newer generation uses a machine.