WASHINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — The American Legion Post 100 is finding itself with a good problem.
The organization is in the middle of its annual Fish Fridays, an annual event where volunteers and members prepare fish dinners and fisherman’s platters for the community through Lent. They’re also serving pizza for those who’d like other options.
“We are basically doing this to support our community and also the money that we make supports vets in the area,” Kim Kuhlman, senior vice commander, said.
Kuhlman said the support from the community has members and volunteers feeling both overjoyed and overwhelmed. She said on Fridays, the countertops are typically flooded with orders and the phones are constantly ringing.
“For the last couple of weeks we have been super busy,” Kuhlman said. “Our volunteers will tell you they are running nonstop. We start serving at 5 pm, we start taking orders at 4 pm. The kitchen closes at 8 pm and we are nonstop until 8 pm.”
She said, at the moment, the organization has about 10 volunteers and five members helping out with Fish Fridays. She said they’re grateful for the community support, but they can always use more volunteers to help out.
“They’re going nonstop,” Kuhlman said. “And like I said we never turn away a volunteer because we will always find something they can help us with.”
Debbie Talaska said she’s been volunteering throughout the pandemic.
“We’ve got at least two people taking phone calls, we’ve got at least 3-4 people in the kitchen,” Talaska said. “People processing orders and then our runners running orders out to people and then a cashier. So, that’s like eight or ten, but we do it with about five or six.”
She said volunteering at the American Legion is a personal reward for her.
“First of all these are our vets,” Talaska said. “These people laid it on the line at some point in their lives. So I help out to pay back to those vets, to those members of the military.”
She said the Legion, which supports countless local charities, has seen a slight increase in volunteers since the pandemic started. Kuhlman said she’s moved by the appreciation.
“It’s our time to say we appreciate everyone that comes out and helps us and that supports us and that are also supporting the veterans that we help,” Kuhlman. “It’s just a big thank you.”
She said the Fish Fridays will continue every Friday through April 2. She said anyone who wants to volunteer can call The American Legion Post 100 at (309) 745-8968.