SAN ANTONIO – For 365 days a year and 24 hours a day, the San Antonio Fire Department works to protect the public. Their duties include responding to fires, assisting in car crashes, chemical spills and water rescues, and helping Santa and his elves spread holiday cheer.
Saturday morning hundreds of volunteers participated in Santa’s Firefighter Toy Drive Wrap Party at the Fire Training Academy. The event aims to help children in need and foster a relationship with the communities firefighters serve.
According to fire Chief Charles Hood, the children are chosen throughout the year, “when we go to people’s houses and they didn’t have a tree and they didn’t have toys.”
Firefighters want to help make a difference in the lives of children in the city. “This event is a mechanism to give to people that we see are in need,” Hood said.
A call for volunteers and donations for the last collection weekend was made on the San Antonio Fire Department’s Facebook page. The annual event began with individual firefighters donating and wrapping toys, and years later people from across the city join in at Santa’s pop-up shop.
The event has been celebrated for nine years and some families have chosen to make it a holiday tradition.
“I hope that they know these gifts are wrapped with a lot of love and by people that are really excited to show them a little bit of Christmas spirit,” Charyl Allred said. Allred has been volunteering with her husband and daughters since the event began in 2010.
Ahead of Christmas Day, firefighters will visit the neighborhoods to deliver the wrapped gifts in a fire truck.