Hardy, who has been involved with Latch Key for the last 18 years, including the last 15 as its director, has seen its annual hamburger supper and raffle gradually develop each occasion. In recent years, she said they have generated more attendance and profit, as well as selling out the hamburgers and hotdogs before even the two-hour event concludes.

“It definitely wasn’t as big as it is today. We’ve enjoyed watching this thing grow,” Hardy said Tuesday at the First Christian Church, where she and about 20 board members and volunteers served several patrons who rendered their support and dollars to the local program.

Customers, who formed a long line that extended outside the church’s fellowship hall, forked over their purchased blue raffle tickets and enjoyed a hotdog or hamburger meal that included chips and a drink. One hundred percent of all money raised stays within the program.

All items for the supper and raffle were donated to Latch Key from local community supporters and board members. Raffle prizes included two tickets to a Texas Rangers home game, and gift cards to Wal-Mart and local restaurants.

Latch Key secretary Carol Nicholas, who, along with volunteer Glenda Lemke, managed the bake sale during the supper. The bake sale was added in recent years to satisfy the fundraiser’s overall growth. Pastries like cakes, cupcakes and cookies were available for customers. Nicholas, a retired teacher from Brownwood Independent School District, said that she has enjoyed seeing her former students during the fundraiser in the three years she has been involved.

“It’s always a joy to see them,” said Nicholas, who whipped up about four dozen teacakes for the bake sale. “We all do this as a group and enjoy seeing the community come together for this.”

In the past few years, Hardy said the program has accumulated about $4,500 to $5,000 from the April fundraiser. She added that the board members have contributed largely to those figures by helping get the word out to local media outlets.

Latch Key assistant director and Howard Payne University senior student Amber Jackson has also witnessed first hand the growth of the supper fundraiser since first starting four years ago as a freshman.

“It was a lot slower and not a steady flow as it is now,” she said. “Around this time (about an hour in the event), we would’ve already been cleaning up.”

Not so much this time around.

“Right now we still have people coming in.”