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Fire departments adapt to fundraising challenges

SoVaNow.com / June 25, 2020
As they adjust to the new reality of no festivals or large-scale fund raising events, local fire departments are going small — hosting multiple moneymakers, such as chicken dinners and stew sales, to generate the revenue they need for operating and capital expenses.

Most of the fund raisers are drive-thru food sales of Boston Butts, stews, BBQ and chicken dinner plates. Some fire departments are biding their time, rescheduling the big fund raisers for dates later this summer or fall, including the Midway Mud Bog and Turberville Tractor Pull.

The Virgilina Fire Association, which canceled its Memorial Day weekend Summerfest in town, is hosting another drive-thru fund raiser, Summerfest To Go – Take-Two. It’s “take two” because the first mini-Summerfest was a rousing success, with overwhelming support from the community. The fire department cookout was held on the day when Summerfest would have occurred, May 23, if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t intervened.

The cookout was so successful, “we sold out in 45 minutes,” said Ralph Murray, treasurer for the Virgilina Fire Department. “That’s why we’d like to offer it to our community again, but this time with pre-orders so that we can better serve you,” Murray added.

The Take-Two event will be Saturday, July 11 beginning at 11:30 a.m. and lasting until the food is gone. Pre-orders will be accepted until Friday, July 3: Stew will be sold by the quart for $7, barbecue by the pound for $8, and BBQ plates for $9 with two sides, dessert and drink. Also available for purchase: chicken plate for $9 with two sides, dessert and drink. Call any of these folks to place your order: Ralph Murray - 434-585-2657, Jennifer Nelson - 434-222-2888, Sally Brewer - 434-738-3826, Holly Loftis - 919-603-7275, Philip Poole - 919-482-9961.

On the opposite end of Halifax County, the North Halifax Ladies Auxiliary (NHLA) is hosting a Boston Butt fundraiser on July 11. If you want a break from cooking, since dining out is limited due to COVID-19, this a great option. Not to mention BBQ freezes well, if you want to save it for later.

The NHLA works year-round on fund raisers for the North Halifax Volunteer Fire Department (NHVFD). All proceeds go to assist the department with the cost of EMS and fire operations.

This is a pre-order fund raiser. To reserve your Boston Butt, orders will need to be placed by July 3 by contacting any auxiliary member, or by calling 434-575-4608. The Boston Butts are $25 each and will be ready for pickup starting at 11 a.m. on July 11. The North Halifax Fire Department is located at 4201 Leda Grove Road in Nathalie.

Other fire departments in the county have rescheduled their big fund raising events for August and September, with fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

Midway Volunteer Fire Department has postponed its annual Midway Mud Bog to Sept. 19 from the original date of June 13 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Hopefully the coronavirus will be on a downhill slope and it won’t flare up again,” said Fire Chief Brent Inscore.

The Mud Bog has been a Midway Volunteer Fire Department tradition for more than two decades. Midway VFD also holds a Fox Hunt, in its fourth year, that is scheduled for Aug. 22 to raise revenue for the fire department. The Fox Hunt will take the first 400 dogs; the entry fee per dog is $36, and the event begins at 6 a.m. The only day to register is the night before the event.

Turbeville Volunteer Fire Department’s sixth annual Tractor Pull is being rescheduled for Aug. 29 at the Halifax County Fairgrounds.

“This is a very good fund raiser for us and we sure hope the governor will have loosened restrictions by then,” said Fire Chief Caleb Wade.

The event was scheduled for June 20 when the temperatures outside were still somewhat mild. “The weather is so hot in August, it could affect crowd participation,” said secretary Pat Turner, who added the income earned by the department comes from concession purchases and event sponsorships.



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