For nearly 20 years the Wetumpka Volunteer Fire Department has hosted its annual pilau supper fundraiser, and despite any challenges presented by COVID-19, the tradition was upheld Saturday, March 13 with drive-thru service. In the past, Gadsden County residents were able to enjoy their meal indoors while there was also the option to carryout.
This year the chicken pilau supper was served in take-out containers accompanied by coleslaw, bread & butter pickles, crackers, and desserts like cookies and brownies.
For as long as anybody in the organization can remember, Bo Chason and Alvan Pickels have cooked the pilau. They use a modified army recipe, which dates back to Chason’s army days. Many people just couldn’t get enough of the pilau. There were some orders of 10 plates, and one couple mentioned they drove all the way from Fort Myers just to get a taste.
While firefighters worked around the traffic and guided cars on where to go, a few members of the community, who have volunteered in the past, helped with the food distribution. Though they all wore masks, a smile seemed to form from cheek to cheek as they served the plates.
“It seems like we were working the lines at Chick-Fil-A,” said one of the firefighters after the event was over, while smiling. The event ended just a few minutes past 6:30 p.m., 30 minutes before its scheduled time because they ran out of food. Robbie Maxwell, President of the Board of Directors of the department, said that has never happened before.
“We are usually scrambling for containers and in the past have donated leftovers to on-duty EMS, Quincy Fire Department, Gadsden County Sheriff’s Department, and Quincy Police Department personnel,” said Maxwell.
Alvan Pickels and Bo Chason stand behind a 25-gallon pot of chicken pilau at the Wetumpka Volunteer Fire Department’s annual pilau supper fundraiser. PHOTO BY MAYBELLINE SOMOZA
Having served 625 plates and 20-quart containers, the department anticipates an amount of $1500-$2000 in donations. All the money collected in the fundraiser goes to the fire department as an aid when outfitting the firefighters with personal protective equipment, purchasing trucks, and buying other necessary equipment.
The Wetumpka Volunteer Fire Department Board of Directors organizes the event every year, with each member being in charge of different jobs while also receiving help from some members of the community.