By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer
Last year, local firefighters gave 353 Madison County children a merry Christmas through their annual Toys for Kids program, which dates back to at least the 1940s.
This year, with the help of area businesses, groups and individuals, the Richmond Firefighters Association will continue the tradition for children ages birth to 12.
Unlike some groups that must get proof of income from parents and other paperwork, the firefighters ask only that parents or guardians show an ID that confirms they are from Madison County and proof of age for the child or children they’re signing up, according to John Tussey, president of the Richmond Firefighters Association.
Children can be signed up at Fire Station 1 on North Madison Avenue in downtown Richmond. The deadline is Dec. 10.
About 250 children were on the firefighters’ Santa list Friday, Tussey said.
The annual Toys for Kids giveaway will be from 8 a.m. to noon Dec. 15 at the Fire Training Center.
“Kids can come and pick out what they want,” Tussey said.
Each family also will be given a small fruit basket, Tussey added.
Walmart has donated bicycles, and Kohl’s and the Ty Lucas Foundation have also provided support to the annual toy drive, according to Tussey.
If you wish to donate new toys to the drive, collection boxes are available in Richmond at Salon 116, at 116 Tates Creek Ave., and the Dollar General on the Robert R. Martin Bypass near Northside Equipment.
The firefighters also are accepting monetary donations to support the toy drive at Fire Station 1, and volunteers are needed to help with the giveaway.
Tussey is unsure exactly how long the firefighters have been sponsoring a holiday toy drive, noting that pictures from past drives appear to date back to the ‘40s and ‘50s.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6694.