Powell River Fire Rescue will be holding a toy drive from 1 to 4 pm on Saturday, December 7, at Wildwood Fire Hall, 6459 Sutherland Avenue. The firefighters are asking for the community’s help to fill a fire truck with toys for children in need.
“I volunteer at the food bank, so I see the families in our community who need a bit of help,” said Melissa Furlotte, the auxiliary firefighter who is organizing the drive. “When deputy chief [Rocky] Swanson asked us to come up with ideas for community events, I thought this would be a great fit.”
Swanson said the firefighters always have better ideas than he does.
“It’s my job to give them what they need to make things happen,” he added. “That’s why we’re opening up the Wildwood hall for this toy drive.”
The firefighters had a great time handing out candy at the station on Halloween, according to Furlotte.
“It was nice to interact with the public in a positive situation rather than an emergency, and that got me thinking about how we could do that again,” she said.
Fire Rescue is asking residents to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the station for the drive. There will also be station tours and activities for families.
“When I moved back to Powell River in 2016, I fell in love with this building,” said Swanson. “There is a hall on the second floor with a kitchen and tables we use for training, but it is also available for community groups to rent free of charge. Many people don’t know it’s here, so we’re inviting everyone to come in for a look.”
The afternoon will include hot chocolate, cookies and popcorn, and firefighter activities for children.
“There will be colouring,” said Furlotte, “and there’s also a rumour that Santa will make an appearance.”
The toy drive is also an opportunity for members of the community to meet their local firefighters and learn more about the fire rescue department.
“Part of our mission statement is to participate in our community,” said Swanson. “Firefighters sometimes seem like an impenetrable group, but we’re totally the opposite. We’re just members of the public who happen to wear a uniform and want to serve the community.
“Events like this open up the lines of communication between the department and Powell River residents outside of emergency situations, and that’s important when there is an emergency.”
Furlotte said she also hopes people who are interested in becoming an auxiliary firefighter will stop by for more information.
“I love it,” she said. “I’ve only been a firefighter for six months, but it’s a great opportunity and experience.”
All donated toys will be distributed by the Powell River and District Christmas Cheer committee, which collects donations of food, money and toys to create Christmas hampers for more than 250 families in the area.
For more information about Christmas Cheer, go to pr-christmas-cheer.com.