June 21, 2010


Groups get boost from barbecues

Rotary Club, others rely on summertime fundraiser to bring in money

BoostJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland Rotary barbecue cooks Luinsa Slack, left, and Helga DeMond check the chicken meals cooked on a grill Saturday outside the Cortland YMCA.

Staff Reporter

Smoke drifted down Tompkins Street Saturday morning and early afternoon as Cortland Rotary Club members conducted their fourth and final chicken barbecue fundraiser this year.
The barbecues are successful fundraisers, garnering up to $1,000 during the day, said Rotary Club co-treasurer Don Kline.
Dozens of school and civic groups turn to chicken barbecues every year as a way to fuel their finances.
Kline said each barbecue benefited a separate Rotary Club cause, garnering approximately $4,000 in revenue.
Saturday’s barbecue was raising money for Rotary’s international exchange program, which offers area students a yearlong study abroad experience.
Rotary member Ron Walsh said the money will go toward incidental expenses associated with the international exchange program and an $80 stipend paid monthly to students who partake in the exchange.
The exchange program is open to students from the 10th grade to post senior year.
Each year, approximately 50 exchanges happen throughout the Rotary Club’s district, which stretches beyond Cortland County into Delaware, Broome, Chenango and Tioga counties.
The three other barbecues the club held this year benefited United Way, eradicating polio worldwide, and local scholarships that the club awarded to area high school seniors.
For Rotary member Chris Farkas, who uses a wheelchair because he contracted polio early in life, raising money to fight polio was especially meaningful.
Although Farkas said very few countries contend with polio now, the money goes toward educating and inoculating people in third world countries that still face the disease.
But Farkas said he came Saturday to do his duty and because it is a fun way to raise money for the organization.
Walsh helped rotate chickens with Kline Saturday and said the chicken barbecues are successful because “everybody likes chicken.”
The grill was started at 7:30 a.m., said Kline, who as YMCA executive director, allows the barbecues to be held on the Y’s front lawn.
Large racks hold 25 half chickens a piece. The chicken is slathered with a vinegar-based barbecue sauce and cooked for about an hour, turned about every 10 minutes.
Kline said the county Department of Health must issue a license granting the organization permission to hold the barbecue.
The chickens, served in halves, cost $6 each. After they are cooked they are put in a cooler and sold to people who take them to go, Walsh said.
“It’s easier to do than cooking it yourself,” Kline said.
Since chicken barbecues are a popular fundraising activity in the area (frequently held in parking lots) Kline said he tries to coordinate with other organizations and hold the barbecues on different days.
Kline said he has coordinated with the Youth Bureau, which also holds barbecues in the Port Watson Street parking lot.
But also on Saturday, there was a barbecue down the road in the Tompkins Street parking lot of CountryMax, sponsored by People to People as well as one in Dryden.
People to People provides international and domestic educational travel for students.
Kline said the chicken usually sells out between 1:30 and 2 p.m. and the organization has never had leftovers.
“It is a good way to raise funds and get people together,” Kline said.


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