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Fossil’s Last Stand continues fundraising during pandemic

Jackie Russ-Harford and her husband, Carl Harford, are tinkering with their two taverns during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. Besides the acclaimed Fossil’s Last Stand, the couple also owns the New Tripoli Hotel.

Both places are known for great tavern food and friendly staff.

One of Russ-Harford’s customer-building events at Fossil’s is holding fundraisers for local animal shelters.

This year, the annual chowder cook-off was canceled due to COVID-19. No Kill Lehigh Valley and F.U.R.R. usually benefit from the fundraiser. This was to be the first year with Starting Over Animal Rescue (SOAR) as a participant.

The concept is simple - pay a minimum $5 for tickets, take as much chowder as you can handle and vote for your favorite recipe. There are usually about 40 different options. A Chinese auction is traditionally a part of the event.

Closing down the event was a bummer for the animal lovers, who enjoy coming together to support the shelters and rescues. This prompted some of Russ-Harford’s friends to come up with an idea.

With plenty of local residents scrimping to make ends meet, there is concern for the family pets and the animals stuck in shelters.

The idea is to bring pet food to the tavern, and Russ-Harford and her friends will distribute it to the shelters and needy families.

“We are particularly worried about people who are older or have health issues other than this virus. Pets are a great comfort to people in these situations and will help them build up their immune system,” Russ-Harford said.

Patrons can also buy a bowl of soup for entries for a Chinese auction. The Chinese auction and pet food donations will continue through mid-June.

“We hope we are open and getting back to normal by then,” Russ-Harford said.

Fossil’s also holds a chili cook-off in October to benefit the same animal groups.

The tavern remains open for takeout orders.

“You don’t even need to get in the car. We now have Door Dash that will deliver it to you. It is a trial, and for a limited time, you get everything delivered at no extra charge,” Russ-Harford said. “It’s a great way to sample the menu.”

Starting June 5, as Lehigh County moves to the yellow phase of the state reopening, Fossil’s has the ability to serve diners in an outside venue.

PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL CMILJackie Russ-Harford shows Chinese auction baskets at Fossil's Last Stand, 429 Race St. Patrons can buy a bowl of soup and enter the auction. Money goes to selected area no-kill animal shelters.