Firehouse Santa toy drive sounds alarm on low donations
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - For the 15th year, Larry Coleman and the Cedar Grove Volunteer Fire Department find joy handing a child in need a bag of toys for Christmas.
“The kids have smiles on their face when they come in and get them. It is a big relief for us and the fire department to see the kids smile. Parents are happy that we are here to help them,” Coleman said.
Each year the Cedar Grove Fire Department provides thousands of toys to hundreds of kids in the eastern Kanawha County area, but this year fundraising is down.
Coleman said he is hitting the panic button because there is less than two months until all fundraising has to be in -- all while donations are down about 25% from last year.
A fundraiser at the Cedar Grove fire station Saturday will sell hot dogs, barbecue, baked goods and feature yard sale vendors.
“It’s not that we aren’t getting donations. It is just hard to we are worried that we aren’t getting enough,” Coleman said. “I get scared every year that, ‘Hey I am going to turn this kid away or this kid away.’ ”
The Firehouse Santa gives about five toys to upward of 600 children. Coleman and his crew make it possible by collecting donations almost every weekend starting in May.
“Bucket donations going door to door different stuff, you know,” Coleman said. “We are getting a lot lower donations this year. I think COVID has really took a toll on us.”
Larry said almost every weekend he will be holding out a bucket for donations at the Quincy red light near Walmart.
“I will make it happen no matter what, you know, so,” Coleman said.
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