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Firefighters Donate Over $5K Worth of Gifts to Salvation Army

Emily Ness
Updated: December 12, 2019 07:32 PM

Making sure every child receives a gift is huge during the holiday season. Each year, the Salvation Army rings their bells on behalf of the cause and for the last 17 years, the Duluth Fire Department has responded.

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“This is pretty much our greatest day of the year,” Rob Morehouse, firefighter for the Duluth Fire Department said. “I think about my childhood and I think: 'Man, I know what I had and I know what I want my own kids to have.’ This is our chance to spread it out to all the kids that aren't ours, but they are. We take care of them in the city so it's a great day.”

Taking care of kids in the Northland began as a result of a challenge.

“One of our fire fighters—he happened to see a police officer who had raised some money and was buying some toys and threw out a challenge to us and that’s where this started so of course he took up the challenge and within three days, we raised money and purchased toys ourselves,” Fire Marshal Sandy McComb for the Duluth Fire Department said.

Similar to putting out a fire, buying toys requires teamwork.

“We kind of split it up in different age groups and a lot of time if a parent has a kid that age, we kind of throw them cause they kind of would know what’s cool and what’s not and then you know, there’s a few of us that will take the older teenagers and the tweens that are a little harder to shop for—we just try to make a wide variety so we can use our money to the best advantage,” McComb said.

These donations come at a time when funds are low at the Duluth Salvation Army.

“We did take a hit with our bell ringing because of the storms and the weather and we’ve just had a variety of crazy weather this year so we were about $15-20,000 down in our bell ringing effort,” Kristy Eckart, Business Administrator for the Duluth Salvation Army said.

According to Eckart, 969 families are signed up to use the Duluth Salvation Army’s program this year. Of these families, there are 1,935 children—each of whom is eligible to receive two toys.

“We need 3800 toys so as you can see, we don’t have enough toys so this is fantastic the Duluth Fire Department, Fire Marshal Sandy and the crew are going to go shopping and we are so thankful and blessed,” Eckart said.

The crew hopes that, that feeling of joy is passed onto the kids who receive presents.

“I just hope that they’re excited for it, you know and use it, wear it, whatever and have fun with it. That’s the number one thing. If they can have fun with whatever they’re getting and not worry about life during that time they’re using it or whatever, then that’s—we’ve accomplished our mission,” Matt Swanson, firefighter for the Duluth Fire Department said.

The Duluth Salvation Army's Winter Toy Drive begins on Tuesday, December 17th. Those who would like to donate can find more information here.

Credits

Emily Ness

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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