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Dinner Benefits EHS Sober Grad
Tri tip 1
Barbecue chef Robert Leal takes the final tri-tip off the grill as daughter Sarah holds the pan and gets ready to take the meat inside to be bagged up and prepared for delivery curbside at Saturdays drive thru dinner. Marg Jackson/The Times

Traffic was steady and the grill was fired up on Saturday, Jan. 24 as the Escalon High School Sober Grad committee worked to serve up the annual tri-tip drive thru dinner.

Offered at El Portal Middle School, diners received a full dinner for four, including a whole barbecued tri-tip, four baked potatoes, a bag of salad, a loaf of French bread and a two-liter bottle of soda. The annual January drive thru fundraiser has been going strong for years, put on by the Sober Grad committee as a way to help raise money to put on the graduation night party for Escalon High School seniors.

Dinner organizers said they sold just over 160 tickets for the event and the big grill outside the middle school on First Street was put into service about 11 a.m. Saturday, cooking non-stop for several hours to get the tri-tips ready to go.

The assembly line style dinner service featured all the items served up in a ‘to go’ bag, which was delivered curbside at the school. Diners didn’t have to leave their cars; the meal was brought to them for later enjoyment at home. Several high school students were among the crew members bagging up and delivering the dinners.

Sober Grad committee member Debbie Leal said the dinner went well but they had to turn away some people that did not purchase tickets ahead of time for the pre-sale only event.

This is the biggest fundraiser for the group, which also hosts a Bunco Night in the fall. Leal said planning is going well for the Sober Grad Night party for the Class of 2015 and the drive thru will help them reach their financial goal. Local businesses and individuals also typically contribute, providing cash, in-kind or prizes for students attending the all-night graduation party in the safe, sober environment. Leal said it takes about $20,000 to stage the party and make sure every student attending goes home with cash or prizes.