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november/december 2009

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Nine years ago, Adirondack Chapter 79 in Queensbury, New York, north of Albany, was looking for a fundraiser that would be unique and not infringe upon the efforts of other local service organizations. Since the chapter had a working wood shop (obtained through a grant), the decision was made to look in that direction. The chapter president at that time, Gary Murphy, came up with an idea: picnic tables. The rest is Chapter 79 history.

Most Saturdays in the spring and summer you can find half a dozen chapter members running routers, circular saws, chop saws, and drills on the production line. A special jig is used to assemble legs ahead of time. Then the 2x6 lumber is attached using outdoor hardware and deck screws. Braces are installed and the finishing touches (corners cut, edges routered) are completed. 

At one table an hour, three to four tables are produced in a session. Nearly forty tables have been produced and purchased this season.

Materials are purchased through local dealers who are happy to provide the chapter with contractor prices and, in most cases, free delivery. All advertising is done by display and word of mouth.

From the program’s inception, tables have been available for a $100 donation, a price that has been maintained despite the current economy. Proceeds have been used to support such causes as Support the Troops, Make a Wish, and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. 

“This has been a profitable, enjoyable, and unifying fundraiser,” Chapter 32 President John Svandrlik said. “After all, there is something about the feel of wood on the bare hands that is special. Remember the stock of your M-14?”

James Brown, who taught high school English for 30 years, is the secretary of Adirondack Chapter 79. Contact Chapter 79 at



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