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500 chickens go a long way at Pa. fund-raiser

June 15, 2004|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Five hundred chickens made the ultimate sacrifice Monday for the 41st Chicken 'N Stuff, which raised several thousand dollars for Easter Seals programs in Franklin and Adams counties.

"The takeout was much higher, the delivery was much lower and the eat-in was about the same, so we came out about even," Rotarian Sam Miller, the co-chairman of the event, said after the lunch crowd had cleared out of Chambersburg Area Middle School.

A few hours later, he said the dinner business was off because of a late afternoon downpour, but there was still a long line in the cafeteria for those who chose to have their chicken dinners in the school.

The event is sponsored each year by the Chambersburg Rotary Club and the Knights of Columbus. Miller said the two organizations were expecting to raise between $5,000 and $7,500 for Easter Seals. Last year, the clubs sold 1,872 dinners at $6 apiece.

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"We ordered 2,000 quarters of chicken," Miller said. Along with the chicken, diners were served mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, drinks and desserts.

It takes about 70 volunteers to prepare, cook, serve and deliver the meals, Miller said.

Franklin County Sheriff Robert Wollyung, a member of the Knights of Columbus and the other co-chairman, said some volunteers have been part of the annual event for all 41 years.

Most meals are usually sold in the evening, but that is spread out over three hours and is easier to handle, said former Chambersburg Borough Manager Julio Lecuona, who was working his 39th Chicken 'N Stuff.

"At lunch, they all come at once," he said.

"We don't turn anyone away. We get people who can't pay for services and this is what some of this money is used for," said Easter Seals President Bob Hoover.

The money raised also helps pay for Kids on the Block, a puppet show used to teach all third- and fourth-graders in the two counties about people living with disabilities, Hoover said.

Hoover said the puppet program costs Easter Seals about $12,000 a year and "help like this is really appreciated."

Chicken was not always on the menu, Lecuona said. When the Knights of Columbus began the tradition four decades ago, it was a potpie dinner.

"If you sold more than you thought, you just added more water to the pot," he said.

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