Steak dinner raises money for Boy Scouts
The Joe Cefalu Boy Scouts of America Steak Dinner started roughly 60 years ago with just a few people eating in the backyard of a longtime scouting leader, but Thursday’s dinner at the St. Mary Senior Citizens Center saw around 300 people attending to raise money for the Boy Scouts Evangeline Area Council.
Bill Cefalu, one of event founder Joe Cefalu’s sons, said, “Daddy, started this in the backyard on Florence Street years and years ago to collect money for the local troops.”
The event got so big, they had to find another place to hold it, Bill Cefalu, 64, who recalls going to the dinner since he was a baby, said.
Joe Cefalu started the dinner about 60 years ago, and eventually the Morgan City Rotary Club made it a club project, Lenny Dartez of the Morgan City Rotary Club said. Dartez, 65, also remembers going to the dinner as a child.
The event has been a Rotary Club project for 15 years, and normally around 400 tickets are sold and a little more than 300 people show up, Dartez said. All money raised goes to the Boy Scouts of America Evangeline Area Council. Dartez expected the club to raise roughly $20,000 to $22,000 this year.
Bill Cefalu and his siblings have continued their father’s legacy of hosting the Boy Scouts fundraiser.
Some of the money raised from the dinner goes to help Camp Brownell in Stephensville in addition to other scout camps in the region, Bill Cefalu said.
At the dinner, representatives from Southern Scrap and Settoon Construction were recognized for donating fill material to fill low spots on the campground at Camp Brownell.
Everyone in the Cefalu family that can participate still helps out with the dinner. Bill Cefalu has a brother who comes in from Baton Rouge and a brother who comes in from Lafayette. One of his sisters is on the Evangeline Area Council board, and his other two sisters are also heavily involved with Boy Scouts.
Art Hawkins, scout executive for the Evangeline Area Council, said the council covers the eight traditional parishes of Acadiana from St. Landry and Evangeline parishes all the way to Morgan City.
Proceeds from the dinner help to pay for liability insurance for scouts and a full-time district executive who covers St. Mary Parish, Hawkins said.
The dinner is one of the largest fundraisers, but is also unique because it is the only fundraiser done in honor of someone, Hawkins said referencing Joe Cefalu.
Craig Overland, district director, serving Iberia, St. Martin, St. Mary, and Vermillion parishes, provided the following scouting statistics for St. Mary Parish and the Evangeline Area Council:
—Chitimacha District (St. Mary Parish) 13 Scouting Units with a total of 260 registered youth.
—Seven Cub Scout Packs with a total of 178 Cub Scouts registered (First to fifth grades).
—Five Boy Scout Troops with a total of 78 Boy Scouts registered (11 to 18 years old).
—One Venture Crew with a total of four Venture’s registered (14 to 20 years old Co-Ed).
—Evangeline Area Council (Acadia, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, Evangeline, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion parishes).
—124 Scouting Units with a total of 3,411 registered youth.
—67 Cub Scout Packs with a total of 2,426 Cub Scouts registered (grades 1 - 5).
—41 Boy Scout Troops with a total of 809 Boy Scouts registered (Ages 11-18 years old Co-Ed).
—Three Explorer Posts with a total of 48 Explorers registered (Ages 14-20 years old Co-Ed).
—13 Venture Crew with a total of 128 Venture’s registered (Ages 14-20 years old).