F/F Craig Smith
For the past eight years, myself and Brother Jim O’Toole have organized a fundraiser through the members of the St. John’s Firefighters Association and also members of the SJRFD management.
Collectively we have consistently raised about $3000-$3500 from members and in addition we contribute another $1000-$2000 from our unions charitable account.
From these fundraising efforts we sponsor between three and five families. Our priorities are to provide warm winter clothing for the children and we also purchase gifts that the kids have asked for from Santa. We then purchase around $3000 worth of groceries which is divided between the families. We personally hand deliver the gifts and groceries to each family.
As Firefighters serving the citizens of our City and surrounding areas, we are exposed to more than our share of trauma and sad stories throughout the year. We are in resident’s homes at their worst hours and it often leaves a lasting impression on our members. This initiative has been enlightening for our members and we are all left with a good feeling. It is rewarding to know that not only have we helped someone during the holidays, but we have made a significant impact in their lives; our food hamper provides groceries that these families wouldn’t see over a 3-4 month period, and gifts that their children would never receive because they just cannot afford them.
Personally, I hope that what we are doing has an impact on the parents and especially the children. When they have an opportunity to help someone in need I hope they remember the kindness that was offered to them. I also hope the children take this as a life lesson and pass the same giving attitude on in years to come and to their own children down the road.