TAMPA (FOX 13) - Long before daybreak the delicious smell of barbeque chicken filled the air at Raymond James Stadium. It came from 10,000 chicken dinners being cooked by hundreds of volunteers.
"It requires a lot of work from a lot of people," Gene McDonald, president of the Kiwanis Club of Tampa, told FOX 13.
More than 100 members of Kiwanis and 250 high school and college volunteers turned out to work the event.
The Kiwanis smoked the chicken, flavored it with with secret seasoning, then dipped in a special sauce, so that students could box it and add a bag of chips, cookie and a roll.
The dinners, most of which were pre-ordered, sold for $9 each.
The event is the biggest one of the year for the club and raises more than $40,000 for community projects. The money is used for such endevours as throwing a Christmas party for needy kids and building ramps for the physically challenged.
It is no easy thing to pull off. The work began on Wednesday when a tent was erected and ten massive cookers were moved in. Thursday, starting at 2 am, Kiwanis members began showing up to start smoking chickens. At 4 am, people started packing the food into styrofoam boxes and loading them up for delivery.
Just before lunch, they began selling the dinners to anyone who stopped by.
"It's exhausting," one volunteer told us, but gratifying. It has been the club's "go to" fundraiser for almost five decades.