ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. (KDAK) — As the coronavirus pandemic continues to force groups to cancel or postpone events, fire departments are losing a key source of income through fundraisers.
The Cherry City Volunteer Fire Company holds several fundraisers each year, including a golf outing, street fair and weekly bingo.
Each event has been canceled or postponed this year, and the VFC has taken a major hit.
“It’s been a struggle,” said Assistant Fire Chief Aaron Skalos. “We’re looking at $75,000 to $100,000 in lost revenue this year, just based on those couple events.”
Other local fire departments are also feeling the impact of the pandemic.
Earlier in the week, the Reserve and Millvale volunteer fire departments announced that they are moving their annual cash bash online, which is normally a major source of funding.
The Cherry City Volunteer Fire Company has tried fundraising through raffles and to-go chicken dinners, but Skalos says it won’t recover most of the money lost.
The fire company has rid itself of any non-essential spending.
“It’s basically just been utilities and maintenance on the trucks,” Skalos said. “No new equipment, nothing like that. We can’t do any more training right now with the guys.”
Skalos is hopeful the long-term impact won’t be too great, and he says it does not impact their ability to respond to calls.
He adds that the department has been averaging 10 firefighters per call.
“We’ve really handled this well,” he said.
Skalos says any support from the public is welcomed.