The Massena Volunteer Fire Department will be cooking up a chicken barbecue fundraiser on Saturday. Orders can be placed starting at 10 a.m. and can be picked up starting at 11 a.m. File photo

MASSENA — Step away from the stove and step over to the Massena Fire Station on Saturday for another barbecue chicken fundraiser.

Orders can be phoned in starting at 10 a.m., and the meals can be picked up at the fire station starting at 11 a.m.

The department has a new phone number for orders so they can keep its normal line open for emergencies. Anyone who’s interested in a barbecue chicken dinner should call 315-514-0048.

Thomas C. Miller, 2nd assistant chief at the department, asked callers to be patient and keep trying if the number is busy. The number will remain open until all of the meals have been ordered.

“We’re going to try our best,” he said.

There will be plenty of chicken to go around. Mr. Miller said they’re cooking up 544 meals.

“In the past we’ve done roughly 350. There’s never been a time we haven’t sold out,” he said.

The meal includes a half-chicken, baked beans, macaroni salad, roll and drink for $10.

Those picking up meals at the fire station are asked to come in from the corner of West Orvis and Andrews streets. Three lanes will be open for the drive-through meals.

“Everybody has to come in on Andrews and West Orvis. We roll them through really, really quick,” Mr. Miller said.

The department will also be delivering meals in the village and town limits.

“We are going to deliver because there are people out there that don’t have a means to get to the drive-through,” he said.

It’s an early morning for the cooking crew. They get to the station at about 5 a.m. and start firing up the charcoals. Once those get to the right temperature, the chicken heads for the grill and then to the customers. They can cook about 108 half-chickens per batch.

“The pits are already set up. We have a cooking crew of five or six. People rotate,” Mr. Miller said.

Money raised during the chicken barbecue is used for equipment, as well as training and other necessities. Personal protective equipment worn by the firefighters has a certain life span before it must be replaced.

“The department obviously got hit with COVID and we weren’t allowed to do as many fundraisers last year. That’s why we’re increasing it and hope the community continues to support us,” Mr. Miller said.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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