Salmon Arm firefighters are once again turning to the public for help with filling the stockings of local children and youth over the holiday season.
On Saturday, Dec. 4, firefighters will be at city firehalls 1 through 4, awaiting donations of gifts and gift cards for this year’s Fill the Fire Truck Toy Drive. Wanted are unwrapped toys and other gifts, as well as gift cards in increments of $15 for ages 0-18, which will be donated to the SAFE Society and the Shuswap Family Centre. Drop off time is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This is the second year for the toy drive, organized by Salmon Arm firefighter and fire prevention officer Steven St. Denis.
“It went very well, better than we ever would have expected,” said St. Denis of last year’s toy drive, which differed from fire department toy drives in neighbouring communities in which firetrucks are driven around to pick up donations.
“How we looked at it, instead of taking our trucks out of service or pulling them away from our halls, if we have calls come in this enables us to still respond in a timely manner,” explained St. Denis.
Asked what people should consider for donations, St. Denis encouraged things for youth in the age 16-18 range, things like grooming kits or gift cards they can use to purchase something that fits with their identity.
“Everybody thinks about kids and teddy bears and toys,” said St. Denis. “But there’s still a large number of our kids in the community that are teenagers where those things don’t apply to them.”
St. Denis was inspired by the Vancouver Fire and Rescue toy drives, and saw a need for something similar in Salmon Arm.
“I thought it would be a fantastic event to bring into our department and start doing,” said St. Denis. “I had the support from my chief and deputy chief in doing so, and the public reacted in a very positive way to it.”
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