|The social hall at the Annandale Fire Station.|
Nearly 200 people enjoyed an all-you-can-eat crab leg and spiced shrimp feast at the Annandale Fire Station Saturday afternoon – while helping the Annandale and Bailey’s Crossroads volunteer fire departments raise some badly needed funds.
|Fire station volunteers serve hundreds of pounds of seafood.|
“We want to get more involved in the community,” says Roger Waller, chief of the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department (AVFD).
Fundraising is important “so we can continue to do the things we do,” like purchasing ambulances and taking care of building maintenance, Waller says. The volunteer fire departments rely on donations from the community, and fundraising is down 25 to 30 percent in the past two years, he says.
|Vivianne Couts and Rachel Martin.|
He attributes that to the fact that Annandale has become “a more transient area and a lot of people don’t understand the nature of a volunteer fire department.” Revenue from AVFD bingo games is down 40 to 50 percent from what it was at its peak – mainly due to an aging population and the difficulty of drawing younger players.
Fairfax County pays for the firefighting vehicles, equipment, and salaries of the front-line firefighters. The AVFD and Bailey’s Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department (BCVFD) own their land and buildings and operate the ambulances.
The April 23event probably drew more people than the first crab legs and shrimp fest held by the AVFD and BCVFD last October, says the event organizer, Brenda Waller, Roger’s wife. She is planning more community events with the BCVFD, including a craft show on May 7, and other food fests with auctions and raffles.