PITTSBURG — Children left the store with big smiles after going Christmas shopping with the City of Pittsburg Fire Department.
Each year, PFD takes children from the Pittsburg Community School District to WalMart to shop for Christmas gifts for themselves and if they’d like, for their family.
Ten children were given the opportunity to shop. The gifts will be dropped off via fire truck at each of their homes.
This event is made possible through the PFD charity fund, to which firefighters contribute each year out of their own pockets, PFD Fire Marshal Thomas Vacca said.
“We wanted to provide the opportunity for kids to wake up Christmas morning and have something under the tree that might not have been there under certain circumstances,” he said.
“It means a lot, I like to see the smile on their faces knowing they have something for Christmas.”
The charity fund also helps pay for a Thanksgiving meal donated to a local family or charitable organization, and the remaining funds are used to help 10 students from Pittsburg schools during the Christmas holiday. The children can spend between $75 and $100 on personal items or holiday gifts for their loved ones.
This year was Lakeside Elementary’s turn to shop with the fire department. First grade student Ava Mapes purchased a Hatchimal for herself and bought gifts for her dad and uncle.
The best part was “shopping with him,” Ava said as she ran up to PFD Captain Brian Bythe for a hug. Ava said she’d like to be a firefighter when she grows up.
Another first grade student, Emmett Warren, purchased blocks and bought three gifts for his four-year-old brother.
Lakeside Counselor Melinda DeGruson said the event is special to the children and she applauded the PFD for donating both their money and time to them.
“It’s very heartwarming because they don’t just give money but also their time to the kids,” she said.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.