“For the past several years, a core group of caring firefighters have put this event together on their own,” said Fire Chief Otto Drozd III. “This year, with the community’s support, we hope to help more children than ever.”
The goal of the event is to ensure children who may otherwise go without are paired with a caring local hero – and a Toys “R” Us gift card – to select holiday gifts. Firefighters dress in their Class A uniform and escort the children around the store, spending quality time together one on one. Firefighters in bunker gear wrap the gifts outside, and a fire engine is displayed for the children to enjoy.
”This is not only an opportunity for our children – most of whom come from families at or below the poverty line – to experience a brighter holiday, it’s a chance for them to spend quality time with some of the finest community servants we have,” said Gary Cain, President and CEO of BGCCF.
The department is seeking donations for Shop with a Firefighter to increase the number of children benefited by the program. Donations can be made here.
“We are thrilled to work with both Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida and Toys ‘R’ Us again this year,” said Firefighter/EMT Joshua Ritter, who started the event three years ago. “Our firefighters are always looking for ways to give back, and this is a truly special and more personal event that makes a profound difference in the lives of both the kids and the firefighters who participate.”