Coaldale Volunteer Fire Company No. 1's annual fund drive is under way.

The organization, which serves the borough of Coaldale, as well as assists in emergency situations in Lansford, Summit Hill and Tamaqua, is asking the community for donations to help keep the fire company in operation. Mailings for the 2010 fund drive went out in late January.

Kevin Steber, first assistant fire chief and president of the department, said that the company operates mainly on donations and through the company's fundraising efforts.

"We understand the hard economic times," Steber said. "The $40, $50, $60 dollar donations are great, but anything a person can donate is a plus."

Louie Mitchalk, second assistant fire chief and financial secretary, added that last year, 27 percent of the community donated a total of $16,000 to the fund drive.

That means that the firefighters, who are all volunteers, were left to raise any additional funds needed to cover insurances, heating oil, vehicle fuel, electrical, water, sewer, equipment upgrades, and vehicle maintenance costs.

To make ends meet, the volunteers organize spaghetti dinners, car washes, wrestling events, Chinese auctions, doughnut sales, and bake sales throughout the year.

"Every little bit helps," said Steber. "We sit here and look at the bills and hope and pray that nothing breaks."

Rich Marek, fire chief, noted that one of the fire trucks is going to need tires, which cost around $350 apiece.

"We scrimp and scratch to make ends meet," Marek said. "The volunteers do everything they can to fix broken equipment to make them last longer."

Last year, the company, which has about 25 active members, answered 105 emergency calls in the area. These calls not only included fires, but also CO2 calls, police and ambulance assistance, rescue missions, and more.

"Any type of public services, we are involved in," Steber said, noting that this includes everything from house fires to painting flag poles and hanging billboard signs.

The company also logged 1,100.5 man hours, 1,115 training hours in the company, 224 training hours in the state classes, over 231 hours in meetings, and countless hours fundraising and other miscellaneous activities.

Amy Ciavaglia, secretary and lieutenant, reminds everyone that they can do their part to help the fire company.

"You don't' have to be a firefighter," she said. "You can help with fundraisers. We can always use help."

To donate to the Coaldale Fire Company, follow the directions on the mailers. A second mailing will be sent out at the end of April.