Community

Marysville Sons of Italy welcomes public to dinner

MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Lodge of the Order of the Sons of Italy is named "Mille Cugini," or "Thousand Cousins," to express how inviting and all-encompassing it strives to be, and on May 22, the Marysville Sons of Italy sought to live up to their name by welcoming the general public to their annual fundraising dinner at St. Mary's Catholic Church.

Although the officers of each lodge must be of Italian descent, the Sons of Italy extends social memberships to those of all ethnicities. Likewise, while the local lodge is based in Marysville, its members include those from Arlington and other parts of Snohomish County, with Marysville Lodge President Brock Ricci himself hailing from Snohomish.

"The Sons of Italy is the largest Italian organization in the United States," Ricci said. "We celebrate the Italian heritage and lifestyle."

The Mille Cugini Lodge meets on the third Wednesday of almost every month at the red barn in Jennings Park, located at 7021 51st Ave. NE in Marysville. Members are invited to socialize from 6:30-7 p.m., followed by a brief business meeting and a potluck dinner. The local lodge does not meet in July or August, aside from an annual picnic, but this June marks the 105th anniversary of the Sons of Italy in America.

Ricci noted that Mille Cugini, in spite of its name, is one of the smaller lodges with only 40 members, but added that it encourages participation by extended family members and is open to members as young as 16. Each year, the local Sons of Italy lodge awards scholarships to relatives of lodge members. Ricci pointed out that, at the national level, applicants don't need to be related to Sons of Italy members to qualify for scholarships, as long as they're of Italian descent.

"We also donate to the Marysville food bank and give Christmas baskets to local families in need," Ricci said. "We're very community-based. We even stagger our monthly meetings with those of other lodges, so that we can attend each other's meetings."

For more information, you may call Tom and Mary Canonica at 360-653-8343, or log onto www.osiaglnw.org.

"Italian heritage is alive and strong in America and Snohomish County," Ricci said.

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