ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – On March 4, Jim Ned, Buffalo Gap, Lawn, and Moro Volunteer Fire Departments will be awarded checks, thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Fire and Ice Feast.

“For us, it’s a huge blessing,” said Brad Kerr, Fire Chief of Jim Ned’s Volunteer Fire Department.

Jim Ned VFD, like many others, relies solely on donations.

“To sustain our department, we usually need at least a hundred thousand dollars or so a year,” explained Kerr.

The feast took place on February 4 and 5 at the Old Settlers Reunion Grounds. Saturday is solely dedicated to cooking. Anyone is welcome and the entire day is spent preparing the meals. Then Sunday, the 5th, those looking to attend the feast can purchase tickets, auction items and baskets. All the money goes toward the fire departments.

“Fire and Ice is a God send to us. For us, it’s the least amount of work, we don’t spend months and months planning it,” Kerr said. “Hats off the fire and ice folks because they and I know this, they spend months planning this event.”

Last year’s feast was canceled due to weather and, after a record-breaking year of fires and a scorching summer, the feast this year raised more than $70,000, the highest amount yet.

“Each fire department will be receiving a check of 17,500 dollars,” raved Tracy Martin, the Feast’s Vice President.

She said she understands how the departments and donations go hand in hand.

“They need the help. Their equipment is getting old, they’re needing to replace trucks, tires, everything and if we have another summer like we had last summer, they’re going to be hurting,” Tracy said.

Tracy, with the help of her family, took on the role of the Feast’s Vice President when the fundraiser’s board needed some change.

“We’ve just been a part of different cooking organizations and this came about with a group of friends that we were, you know, all involved with and we just did it to support,” she explained. “And now, they’ve just all become like family to us nearly.”

This was the 14th annual Fire and Ice feast and the event has raised more than $560,000 overall.