The Arcola Lions Club hosted a drive-through chicken barbecue dinner on Father’s Day. Firefighters from the Arcola Volunteer Fire Department helped cook the chicken.

The Arcola Lions Club had a successful Father’s Day chicken barbecue June 21, continuing a tradition that began in the 1950s. While the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the club from serving its usual all-you-can-eat meal at the Arcola Volunteer Fire Department, members hosted a drive-through meal with just chicken.

“Boy, did the community support us,” Arcola Lions Club member Kevin McDermit said. “The Lions slogan is ‘We serve.’ And we had served over 850 chicken halves by noon.”

This year was the first time the club served its barbecue chicken for just a freewill donation. McDermit said the club received a wealth of support from the community, and the proceeds will help support many local needs — “And in a bigger way than we ever have in the past.”

“We will be looking forward to August when we set our annual budget to find new ways to spend the community’s generous support,” McDermit said. “We will be helping the Arcola Volunteer Fire Department, Arcola Elementary School, and hosting Halloween and Christmas Parties, as well as supporting many Lions projects in our district, state and internationally.”

The club would especially like to thank the firefighters of the Arcola Volunteer Fire Department for their help cooking the chicken.

“We could not have done the project without their help,” McDermit said, “and with the success of this year’s adjusted project, we will be able to support the fire department in an even bigger way than we usually are able to.”

Internationally, the Lions Club is known for working to end preventable blindness. Locally, the Arcola Lions participate in a variety of projects important to their community, including cleaning up the grounds of Branning Park during the annual Arcola National Truck and Tractor Pull, which is hosted by the fire department. The club will also sell popcorn at fire department events Aug. 14 and 15.

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