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For more than a decade, volunteers with the Elbert Fire Protection District have held two fundraisers each year, to raise money to help families in the community who are in need. Residents have come to expect a Wing Ding cook-off in the fall and a silent auction in November.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions that prevent large gatherings, the silent auction has been canceled and the annual dinner will look different than in years past, when participants enjoyed gathering for dinner at the firehouse in Elbert.

“Because of the COVID restrictions, we obviously can’t do the usual hot wing competition,” said Ryan Knox, an engineer with the Elbert Fire Protection District. “So this year, we’re offering a full spaghetti dinner to go. People can buy a ticket online and pick up either a single dinner or a family four-pack to take home. Or, if the weather’s nice, we’ll put up some tables outside. The pasta sauce and meatballs will be homemade.”

This year’s fundraiser poses an extra challenge, according to Knox, since the pandemic has increased the number of people in the district who can use a little extra help meeting everyday needs.

“In the past we’ve used funds collected to buy Christmas gifts for families in need, or buy supplies for new parents, or buy groceries after a storm has flooded a house,” said Knox. “This year has brought some hardships on families for other reasons, and we want to help as many people as we can.”

Since the silent auction has been canceled, Knox said they’re hoping the spaghetti fundraiser can bring in more money to help cover the loss of the second fundraiser.

“The firefighter fund doesn’t come from people’s taxes, and is a fund controlled by the firefighters to support the community when needed,” said Knox. “We have tried to make it easy for people to purchase tickets, both the night of the event, or if they prefer contactless payment they can pay online beforehand. Since this will be our only fundraiser, if you wish to donate and skip the dinner, you can do that as well.”

The drive-by dinner will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 10, at the firehouse located at 24310 Mainstreet in Elbert.

Elbert Fire District is an all-volunteer fire department, and serves about 186 square miles. To purchase tickets for the dinner or make a donation, visit their Facebook page at Elbert Fire District, then click on the bold type at “Spaghetti Dinner TO-GO,” and from that page click on the “Find Tickets” link, which will go to the EventBrite ticket purchase page. Or ticket buyers can go directly to the EventBrite purchase link at www.eventbrite.com/e/spaghetti-dinner-to-go-tickets-119930857423.