Firefighting has become big business when it comes to raising money.
Putting out fires is only half the battle when it comes to running a volunteer fire company.
One Monroe County department uses a culinary competition as one of its big fundraisers.
Paying for new trucks along with maintaining the old ones and this firehouse, equipment and training is no easy task but Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder Volunteer Fire Company seems to have it well managed thanks to help from the community.
Sarah Street Grill Owner/General Manager Christy Connolly says, "We’ve supported different ones over the years. When we finally connected with Blue Ridge, we worked well together and they were super helpful for us that day and appreciative. They showed up and they would make wing sauces and they got really into it as well so we kind of stuck with them."
Sarah Street Grill is once again presenting Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder Fire Company with a big check. The four thousand dollars was raised during the Stroudsburg bar and restaurant’s seventh annual Wing Off in June.
Connolly says, "I felt like a lot of the downtown bars weren’t participating in the local wing offs any more and I wanted to bring that back, that concept. And it’s just a fun day for us all to get together and have a little competition."
The fire company covers Ross and Hamilton Townships. The event not only helps them cover some of their operating expenses but it saves them time.
Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder Fire Company Chief Leon Clapper says, "If you’re going to raise money, and I’m a firm believer being a business man, you want to pick the ones that make you money and don’t overburden the department because you’re so busy as it is."
We’re told that’s the name of the game when it comes to fundraising. Blue Ridge has streamlined their efforts.
Clapper says, "We do the coin toss, coming here to Sarah Street, the letter drive, the Chicken Bake Dinner and then some of our raffles."
Good budgeting and limited spending ensures they make their quota.
Clapper says, "In the fundraising aspect, we probably make around 100 thousand dollars. Our average budget a year is probably around 300 thousand dollars so you can see we’re negative 200 thousand dollars right out of the shoot there but with the townships helping us out and some grant money we get we’re able to sustain a functioning fire company."
But none of it would be possible without outside help. The owner of Sarah Street Grill tells us it’s important everyone gives their support.
Connolly says, "We need their help when we’re in trouble."
Supporting your local firehouse doesn’t mean you have to gear up. Giving money or your time for fundraisers means just as much.