Chickens

Look for a similar scene along Route 19 on Sept. 21.

As Peters Township Chamber of Commerce executive director Brian Schill can attest, putting together a large-scale event can be an adventure.

“The one thing you really have to watch for is when somebody says, ‘It’s been taken care of,’” he said. “I’ll go home and say, ‘Oh, I don’t feel right.’”

So he might double check, and much of the time, everything is copacetic.

But on some occasions, “I’m glad I called,” he said.

Along with chamber happenings, Schill also gets involved with planning for events through his membership in the Rotary Club of Upper St. Clair-Bethel Park (Breakfast). And the club’s biggest fundraiser of the year is approaching.

The 31st annual Chicken BBQ is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St. Clair, featuring half a chicken, coleslaw, roll and dessert for dining in or taking out.

Chairing this year’s event is Rotarian Sally Morrison, who is bringing a practical approach to avoiding situations where someone said it’s “It’s been taken care of.”

“I’m really trying this year to document everything, to make it easier for future chairmen,” she said. “I was a software developer for 30 years, so it’s easy for me to get around the computer. I made an Excel spreadsheet with multiple tabs for each activity. So you open one thing and it’s there, a spreadsheet for everything.”

With three decades of precedent, and $700,000 raised during that span, the Chicken BBQ tends to run relatively smoothly, especially with the club’s goal of selling 3,000 tickets for the event.

“Everybody has a role,” Morrison said. “They know what they need to do. Sometimes when I ask them, ‘How’s this going? Have you gotten this done?’, they’ll say, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ because they’re pros.”

The club, which meets at 7 a.m. Tuesdays at the Porch at Siena in Upper St. Clair, raises money to donate to organizations. More than $48,000 was presented during a Night of Giving in April, representing the net proceeds from the 2018 Chicken BBQ, which was chaired by Jessica Docherty.

Morrison gave credit to the many volunteers who assist with each year’s event, including students from Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair high schools.

“I think it’s a really great thing for them to learn about volunteering and giving back to the community,” she said. “And it’s a really great opportunity for them to learn about Rotary and what we do.”

Rotary International, founded in 1905, is a philanthropic organization with 1.2 million members worldwide, with the motto “Service above self.” Clubs in Allegheny, Greene and Washington counties are part of Rotary District 7315.

Many have long-standing events to raise money, and in the case of Schill’s club, the annual sale of chicken dinners continues to grow.

“The big thing that makes the difference is the sponsorships,” he said about the spike in funds generated over the past decade or so. “When the businesses or individuals step up, that’s huge support for the BBQ.”

For more information, visit portal.clubrunner.ca/5025.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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