Canceled summer events served as fundraisers for emergency services; they now face challenges

Local News

SNOW SHOE CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ)– First responder crews, especially in small communities, often rely on summer events as their main fundraisers. But now, as more events continue to be canceled due to Covid-19 concerns, money for EMS and Fire services could be getting tight.

This applies to emergency crews in Snow Shoe, Centre County. 2020 would have been the 74th anniversary of the Snow Shoe Carnival. But, the carnival was canceled due to coronavirus concerns. Now–local fire and EMS crews are scrambling to find other ways to raise money to ensure day-to-day operations continue.

Sharon Nilson, Operations Chief of Snow Shoe EMS said the Snow Shoe Carnival Committee had no choice but to cancel in 2020. Nilson said she agreed with the decision.

“We do get a lot of people at our carnival. So from the medical side I think this is a good idea,” she said.

But, from a fiscal standpoint, Nilson said: “It’s one of our main fundraisers.”

She said they normally make about $1,200 from the carnival.

“It’s gonna hurt a little bit. We’re not gonna have that money going in. We’re gonna have to find a way to make that up,” Nilson said.

She added that those funds are needed for gloves, masks, bandages, and some extra purchases due to Covid-19.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Snow Shoe EMS had enough funds to pay day-time employees. But now with calls down, “we’re probably at about 40 percent of our call volume right now”, Nilson said, paying employees may be difficult.

“It’s getting tighter as we go,” she told WTAJ.

Snow Shoe’s Volunteer Fire Company also uses the carnival as a main fundraiser.

“We relied on that money. Unfortunately now without having it, we’re gonna lose it. We’re trying to do some other things to make up for it,” said Beau Martin, Chief, of the Snow Shoe Volunteer Fire Company.

The company recently held a chicken b-b-q with social distancing to try and make up for the loss. Martin said they’re looking to have more in the future.

Back in March, crews also benefited from a state bill granting $50 million to be spread across all PA volunteer fire companies. Snow Shoe’s company may need to spend part of this money on PPE related to Covid-19.

“If this keeps going, we would have to spend our own funds to get personal protective equipment,” Martin said.

Replacement fundraising

Fire and EMS in Snow Shoe told WTAJ they’re looking into creating an online ticket drawing game. The plan is to use this to help make up for lost funds. Both crews are also accepting community donations.

Snow Shoe is not the only area to cancel fundraising carnivals. Both Pleasant Gap and Boalsburg have canceled their annual summer carnivals.

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