MCFRS News Release

Toys for the Holidays ....Help Us Help Others

Region’s Fire Stations Are Toy “Drop-off” Sites

Many local fire and rescue departments throughout Montgomery County and the Washington metropolitan region will again be collecting toys for needy families and underprivileged children during the 2006 holiday season. For many years various Montgomery County volunteer fire and rescue stations have worked with local community groups, civic organizations and government agencies to make the holiday season a little better for area families.

This year is no different and many local fire and rescue stations will continue their long tradition of assisting area families during the holiday season. In addition, this year all Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Stations will serve as “drop off” sites for new unwrapped toys, including those toys to be used for existing annual local volunteer fire department initiatives supporting neighborhood and local community holiday programs, as well as, the regional 2006 Toys for Tots Campaign in conjunction with the United States Marines.

Fire Departments throughout the metro region, including those in Montgomery County will be collecting toys for children during the holiday season

Toys will be accepted for the various local Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Rescue Association (MCVFRA) member community programs as well as the Toys for Tots campaign through December 24, 2006. NOTE: Fire Stations will only accept new, unwrapped toys. They will not accept any toys that may be either used as weapons or considered to be weapons (i.e., toy guns or knives of any kind). The toys are intended to go to children from infants and toddlers to seventeen (17) years of age.

If an individual wishes to make a financial contribution to the Toys for Tots campaign, only personal checks or cashier checks made payable to the TOYS FOR TOTS FOUNDATION will be accepted. Financial donations can also be made to local Montgomery County volunteer fire and rescue departments or the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service “Safety in the Neighborhood” program, if desired.

Many Montgomery County local volunteer fire and rescue departments are continuing a long holiday tradition of community outreach. As an example, the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad (WVRS) partners with the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery County Housing and Community Affairs, local civic organizations, as well as several other Montgomery County Fire and Rescue stations with collecting and distributing toys. Last year alone through efforts of the WVRS over 1500 toys valued at over $20,000 were distributed to nearly 600 children in the greater Wheaton area.

The Bethesda Fire Department also works with Montgomery County Housing and Community Affairs with outreach in their area while at the same time the career and volunteer members of the Cabin John Park fire stations work with Stepping Stones, in Rockville, an orphanage in D.C. and other area community groups. In many areas throughout the County, Santa Claus will make a special visit on a fire engine or fire and rescue stations host special holiday parties. The Rockville Volunteer Fire Department will again acknowledge Chanukkah and staff a specially outfitted truck that will visit many neighborhoods throughout the Rockville area during the holiday season.

Career and volunteer members from fire stations in Damascus, Kensington, Germantown, Rockville and Takoma Park also provide support to various local civic and community groups during the holidays. For many years the volunteer members from the Sandy Spring fire stations have had a community involvement with Starbucks and the Star Light-Star Bright program which provides support for terminally ill children. Furthermore, the Upper Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Department and volunteers from fire stations in Hyattstown and Hillandale have worked in past years with local community groups and those associated with the United States Marines to make sure children and families in their local communities are supported and cared for during the holiday season.

Other local fire and rescue stations in Kensington, and Silver Spring also support the WVRS, while stations in Burtonsville, Chevy Chase, Gaithersburg, Laytonsville look forward to fully supporting the Toys for Tots campaign. Together we can all make a needy family’s holiday season a lot brighter.

These efforts provide a tangible sign of hope to economically disadvantaged children during the holidays. As an example, the Toys for Tots campaign is one of the nation's flagship Christmas charitable causes and the only charitable endeavor within the Department of Defense that reaches outside the military to give something back to the communities from which the nation draws the young men and women who serve in the armed forces of the United States of America.

Collectively, these charitable endeavors have made the U.S. Marines and the region’s fire and rescue service the unchallenged leaders in looking after needy children during the holiday season, particularly at Christmas. In many ways the MCFRS and in particular the MCVFRA looks to this opportunity as a way to continue our local efforts to make our communities a better place to live, work and play.

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