Two major fundraisers for the Howard Volunteer Fire Department, its Memorial Day Pancake Breakfast scheduled for May 25 and annual Chili Cook-off weekend on June 13-14, have been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, a press release stated.

Howard Volunteer Fire Department representative Julia Bates said the department’s coverage area is not a taxed district and depends entirely on donations from locals and fundraisers.

Most of the money comes from donations from property owners in the coverage area. 

An annual letter is sent to all property owners updating them on all activities for the past year and any improvements made on buildings and equipment. 

Bates said, as a strictly a volunteer organization, the department reminds folks they can always use more volunteers in many areas – training to be firefighters, helping with upkeep of equipment and helping with fundraisers. 

Bates estimated about 20 percent of the department’s budget comes from fundraising events.

“It has worked for more than 50 years with no government help,” she said.

A non-gathering fundraiser may happen if it can be planned. 

Bates said depending on how long the pandemic lasts, the department will try to hold its fall breakfast fundraiser around Labor Day, but that is about all that has been discussed so far.

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