For the few years I have lived on the peninsula, I have been very proud to be an active fundraiser for the all volunteer Placencia Peninsula Fire Department. These two dozen men and women are called to put fires out in the most unforgiving circumstances. Our village is predominantly old wooden structures packed closely together, separated only by sand and palm trees. Since we only have one road, the primary “fire truck” has been a 6x4 ATV with a 75 foot hose to pump sea water to the fire site. This ATV can easily maneuver in the sand and dodge all the trees, dogs, and coconuts, but if your fire is further than that from water, these men and the rest of the village put together a mean bucket brigade!
Last Christmas we received a generous donation from Britain in the form of a brand new fire truck! It has a large water tank, numerous hoses, and drives from the wrong side of the car. Although there are many advantages to this new truck, there are still inaccessible places on our peninsula due to the lack of roads.
The men and women that volunteer their time and sweat to this
cause are from all different backgrounds and experiences. They have regular scheduled practices and equipment trainings, and rely on donations for absolutely every aspect of their operations. Every year their biggest fundraiser takes place in early spring and this year, I was honored to take on the co-chairperson position with Cindy Weller for the 4th Annual Flaming Hearts Ball!
We had both been active volunteers in the years previous, and had been brainstorming all year on how to make improvements in the fundraiser. The glaring problem in years previous was that the fire team expended way too much money and effort cooking for the event, and weren’t able to enjoy the Ball that was meant to honor their hard work! Then it hit me; let’s leave the cooking to the professionals! How about we ask the generous and delicious restaurateurs in our village to provide the food in a Taste of the Peninsula!
Well, both the fire team and the restaurateurs loved our idea! I have been fundraising in the village for three years, and still I am amazed and humbled by the tremendous generosity of our businesses. We had over 30 restaurants and individuals donate a dish to our
dinner….offerings included pumpkin cilantro coconut soup, cucumber croquettes, cashew chicken salad, perogies, quiche, and goulash! The dessert table was almost as extensive, including a chocolate cake that was talked about for weeks after! In addition to 9 tables of culinary delight, we had a raffle prize list that had over $5000 in prizes ranging from a wooden table and chairs, hotel nights in Mexico and Belize, dinners, rentals, and cash! Up until the day before the event, there were businesses contacting us asking if they could still make a donation, some more than one prize or dish!
The turnout for this unique event was extraordinary, and we had a line at our buffet table for over an hour straight. The compliments on the food were flying everywhere and of course there was dancing and drinking and enjoying the awesome Tipsy Tuna venue on the beach! Gram played rock hits all night and I did a couple fire dancing shows and lessons. By the end of the night, we had raised more than double the money of previous events and we look forward to making our Taste of the Peninsula an annual tradition of the Flaming Hearts Ball!
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