Good eats, good music, good cause.
The 12th Annual Mud Bug fundraiser went off again Monday evening at Graham Central Station, and hundreds ate their fill of Louisiana crawfish to help ensure homebound and otherwise needy Odessans can continue to get at least one hot meal each day.
Meals on Wheels Executive Director Margaret Burton said they wouldn’t have ticket receipts until today, but the event had already made $87,000 in sponsorships and Burton said she expected more than 1,000 people to attend.
Even so, Burton said she expected the organization to make less than $100,000 it used to bring in.
“This is our only fundraiser,” Burton said. “I don’t go begging to the community otherwise.”
Burton said Meals on Wheels delivers about 480 meals per day. Burton said each meal ends up costing an average of $4.89, so feeding some of the 545 clients who need meals each week costs her organization almost $235 every day.
Glenn Starnes, Graham Central Station area supervisor, said he used to volunteer for Meals on Wheels in Midland, and he said the organization was important for the quality of life of those in need of it.
“This allows them to get at least one meal per day,” Starnes said.
Starnes said that although other nonprofits use Graham Central Station, Mud Bug is easily the largest.
“For a charitable event, it’s very significant,” Starnes said.
Up on the stage, Brian Milson Band provided music for the fundraiser, and Brian Milson himself had plenty of reasons to be there.
“I love crawfish,” Milson said. But he said he also worked for Meals on Wheels in the past, once for high school credit and once purely to volunteer.
“People who don’t get out of the house need to eat,” Milson said. “Everybody deserves a good, hot meal.”
Precinct 4 County Commissioner Armando Rodriguez and his wife Rosa bought two tickets to come eat.
Rodriguez, who said he volunteered for Meals on Wheels “a long time ago,” said nutrition was only part of what the service offered.
“It’s an opportunity to check up on people,” Rodriguez said, adding that many enjoy having someone to talk to.
Forrest Peltier of New Iberia, Louisiana, was one of three Cajuns in charge of the crawfish, taters and corn on the cob (local volunteers Osco Services handled the catfish and hushpuppies). Peltier only got in town Sunday afternoon, but had the task of preparing 700 pounds of crawfish.
Peltier said he’s been part of Mud Bug for just three years but has cooked crawfish for 40. He said he preferred his chosen crustacean to the more luxurious lobster.
“I find crawfish tastes better,” Peltier said. “Lobster has no taste.”
Roger Cravens of Hughes Oilfield Transportation and his wife Eadie had never been to a Mud Bug before.
“It’s something different,” Eadie Cravens said.
But her husband wasn’t inclined to the main course.
“I like shrimp, fish; I don’t care for crawfish,” Roger Cravens said. “I think people who suck the heads are nasty.”
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