McGregor VFD puts on unique fundraiser, includes giraffes, otters and a Valentine’s Day experience

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 10:53 AM CST
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MCGREGOR, Texas (KWTX) - The McGregor Volunteer Fire Department is putting on a unique type of fundraiser this year, including a ‘dinner with giraffes’ auction and a Valentine’s Day Experience raffle at Blue Hills Ranch.

“We want to try something different for the community and give them a chance to experience something different through the fire department and other means through local businesses and give them some support since they support us,” Chad Rivas with McGregor Volunteer Fire Department said.

Instead of selling hamburgers on a street corner like they normally do, they are putting on an auction and the highest bid will receive a dinner either inside or outside with giraffes. It will include a meal and food to give to the friendly giraffes while dining.

However, the department wanted to reach more people, so they provided a raffle opportunity.

“It started as just an auction, and, then, we realized to kind of give some other people a chance at it, we just did raffle tickets, so, instead of the silent auction, which is the highest bidder, this is now just going to be a random pick, hopefully by the giraffes,” Matt Lieber, a volunteer with McGregor Fire and owner of Blue Hills Ranch.

The raffle, or the “Valentines Date of a Lifetime,” includes a one-night stay at the nearby themed cabins, dinner with giraffes, swimming with otters, a safari tour, flowers from local business Irene’s flowers and buffets from a local café. They valued the experienced more than $2,500.

The McGregor Volunteer Fire Department relies heavily on donations, receiving some funding from the city and county; however, a majority of their funding for equipment and gear is donation-based. The department is in need of new life-saving materials, equipment, gear and technology.

“It’s all 100% volunteer based,” Rivas said. “A lot of our proceeds come from donation-based in the past.”

So far, they have seen a big outpouring of support from the community with the highest bid so far on the dinner with giraffes auction being $1,500. They have also already sold many raffle tickets for the “Valentines Date of a Lifetime,” raising almost $3,000 in raffle tickets so far.

“It’s been tremendous,” Rivas said. “It shows that the community is really backing us on this when we’re needing funds,” she said. “There’s not been a time where the community hasn’t came through when we needed donations.”

All bids and ticket purchases can be made on

The fundraiser for the auction ends Saturday, Feb. 4 at 3 p.m. The winner will be notified via email. The raffle ends Feb. 10 at 6:29 p.m. The winner will be notified via email as well.