By Deb Everts

Thanks to the generous patrons of Dina’s restaurant, the Ellicottville Food Pantry has received a much-needed monetary boost. The restaurant raised $1,200 for the pantry through a takeout fundraiser April 1. 

Manager James Czora said Dina’s offered a Spaghetti Dinner with curbside delivery last week with 100 percent of the sales going to the food pantry. The fundraising dinner offered an affordable “retro-priced” spaghetti dinner that included meatballs and garlic bread for $9 and was sold out long before they opened their doors for takeout.  

According to Czora, Dina DiPasquale and her husband, Jim Carls, came up with the idea as a way to immediately support the people in their community. In times like this, they wanted to do it when people needed to be taken care of the most.

“People have lost their jobs,” he said. “A lot of those people have families with kids that need to be fed. Some don’t have the opportunity to have good access to food.”

Czora said the couple came up with the idea to do a “retro-price” on their most popular dish, “Grandma DiPasquale’s Spaghetti and Meatballs,” that has been on the menu for 29 years. He said they offered it for the affordable price of $9 and all the proceeds from the sales went directly to the Ellicottville Food Pantry.

“It took off quickly which is phenomenal. We sold well-over a hundred orders that day — to the point where we actually sold out with pre-orders before we even opened for takeout at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, he said.

“With that being said, we are very humbled by the community’s response and their want and need to support the people who are impacted in our community,” Czora said. “It was to the point where people were actually coming to pick up two orders and then saying, for example, ‘round it up to $50 and keep the rest.’ One gentleman came in with a check for $100 for the food pantry, so we could donate that directly. The generosity was just off the charts.” 

Because the first fundraiser dinner was such an overwhelming success, Czora said they put together another one for April 8 during the same hours, via a social media campaign. To make an impact on another community, they focused this dinner fundraiser on the food pantry in Great Valley.

This time, they doubled the amount of dinners to about 200. Just like the previous fundraiser held for the Ellicottville Food Pantry, people could order Dina’s famous spaghetti dinner with all of the proceeds going directly to the Great Valley Food Pantry. 

For more information about daily takeout orders and future fundraisers, contact Czora at 699-5330 or james@dinas.com.