The next time you see a sign for a chicken barbecue or fundraising dinner from a local fire department, you may want to stop. You'll be helping out a lot more than you probably realize.

Sure, a nice meal of barbecue chicken or a spaghetti dinner put on by a volunteer fire department is delicious, but there's a lot more to it than just tasty food at $10 a plate (or however much they're changing). Yes, we all know it's a fundraiser and that's the point of the event, but do you know how important those fundraising efforts are?

As we've been featuring local firefighters every week as part of our "Firefighter Friday," we've been learning a lot about the things most people don't think about. We've heard everything from the other jobs and tasks firefighters take on (besides just putting out fires) to the time it takes them from when a call comes in, them to leave their homes and head to the fire station, and get to the emergency. We've also heard a lot about the funding for volunteer fire departments, and no, the state doesn't take care of everything they need.

Maybe we were a little naive here, but we thought fire departments could just apply for grants, and be all set. The state will give them the money for whatever they need (as long as they actually need it). Unfortunately, that's not how it works. The state does give SOME funding for volunteer fire departments, but according to the firefighters we asked (during their interview for Firefighter Fridays), they said it's not enough to cover the amount of money they actually need. They may get funding for new equipment, but it won't cover the full cost of the equipment. Same for when a fire department needs a new vehicle... or anything.

It's one of the reasons you probably see signs and hear about barbecue chicken dinners going on all the time. That and other fundraising efforts put on by volunteer fire departments or the ladies auxiliary. Money from the community and supporters are a HUGE help to our local fire departments. It helps offset the cost of equipment, vehicles, and other needed items that aren't fully covered by state grants.

So the next time you see a sign for a spaghetti dinner being put on by a fire department or a bake sale or whatever it may be, think about stopping. Spending that $10 there goes to a better cause than just picking up dinner from a fast-food chain.





More From Lite 98.7