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contributed…..Once again we are nearing that special time of year when we are thankful for all that we have and generous citizens are opening up their hearts to assist those less fortunate. As Christmas approaches, the Wisconsin Rapids Firefighters Association will kick off its 47th annual Toy Project to collect gifts and clothing to assist needy children in our community and provide them with some Christmas cheer.
Our goal this year is to help as many underprivileged children in our community as we possibly can. The Wisconsin Rapids Firefighters Association works very closely with Wisconsin Rapids school counselors, social workers, and the Hopes Door. With 45% of the school age children in our community now qualifying for free and reduced lunch meals, it is very clear that many children need assistance in order to enjoy a happy holiday season. A small gift can go a long way in the life of a child and make this Christmas more enjoyable and memorable.
Last year firefighters collected many new and almost-new toys. This holiday season we are seeking to collect mostly new toys for the age range of 4-11 years old. Firefighter elves will replace batteries and do some minor repairs, but please keep the stuffed animals to a minimum. The Wisconsin Rapids Firefighters Association will continue to take monetary donations and gift certificates. Last year businesses and citizens generously provided these needy children with over $2100. The Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department will be working with the Wisconsin Rapids Public School (WRPS) social workers and counselors, who in turn will be working with our community human service agencies, to ensure these wonderful donations are provided to our community’s most needy children. Last year you provided 45 teenage kids with a personal gift certificate of $50 to a local merchant.
Finally, we are again helping the WRPS caring closet. The caring closet is a clothing outlet for underprivileged children. School district social workers and counselors use this wonderful community asset to help needy children within the district. The caring closet operates strictly on donations and grants. The caring closet is looking for the following items in new or almost new condition: sweatshirts in all sizes; jeans sizes 5 and up for both males and females; underwear and socks of all sizes; coats, mittens, hats, snow pants, winter boots and tennis shoes of all sizes.
Toy Project collections will begin on November 20th and end on December 19th, 2012. Donations can be dropped off at one of three locations: Wisconsin Rapids Fire Station 1, 1511 12th Street South; Wisconsin Rapids Fire Station 2 and 1641 West Grand Ave. We also have a new drop location which is River Run Apartments at 1400 River Run Dr. They have a 20’ stocking they are trying to fill. If you prefer, you may also mail your contribution to Fire Station 1. Charitable contribution receipts are available from the fire department.
Despite the challenging economic times in which we currently find ourselves, the generosity of our citizens to assist those most in need over the decades has always been nothing short of amazing. Anything you can do to assist us in helping the needy children in our area would be deeply appreciated. Please help us assist Santa in delivering gifts and putting a smile on the faces of some of the more unfortunate children in our community.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please feel free to contact the Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department at (715) 421-6277.
Mike Lisitza The Wisconsin Rapids Firefighters Association.