Orange County Fire Rescue’s Shop with a Firefighter Brings Holiday Magic to Deserving Children
Orange County Fire Rescue partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida to make the holidays extra special for nearly 30 well-deserving students through their annual “Shop with a Firefighter” event. The event was hosted at the Toys “R” Us at Millenia on Dec. 14.
The goal of “Shop with a Firefighter” is to ensure that children, who may otherwise go without, are paired with a caring local hero and a Toys “R” Us gift card to select holiday gifts.
“We are thrilled to work with both Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida and Toys “R” Us again this year. Our firefighters do such a tremendous job organizing the event and collecting donations,” Orange County Fire Chief Otto Drozd III said. “The event makes a profound difference in the lives of both the kids and the firefighters who participate.”
Firefighters dressed in Class A uniforms escorted children around the store – playing with toys, picking out gifts and spending quality time with one another – while Orange County Fire Rescue volunteers wrapped gifts outside. Additionally, a fire engine was on display for the children to enjoy and Saint Nick himself greeted and took photos with the kids.
Fire Stations around Orange County collected donations and held fundraisers for the holiday shopping event throughout the year, with events that included t-shirt sales, community beach days and firefighter breakfasts. This is the fourth year Orange County Fire Rescue has coordinated the event.
“Our mission is simple. We want to provide kids in need with a great holiday experience,” Orange County Fire Rescue Engineer and EMT Jessie Harris said. “Seeing their smiles as they run up and down the store is priceless, and many of them are buying gifts for their siblings or other family members.”
Orange County Fire Rescue is the largest fire and rescue department in Central Florida. The mission of the Orange County Fire and Rescue Department is to provide fire suppression, emergency medical and community risk reduction services to ensure our community can enjoy a high quality life and property protection delivered with compassion and integrity.
Featured Photo: Firefighters from Orange County Fire Rescue gather for the fourth annual “Shopping with a Firefighter” event, benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida.