This weekend Loganville firefighters will be out in force, not fighting fires but fighting another emergency in the community - children in need. They will be collecting funds to help spread a little Christmas cheer during the upcoming holiday season.
"Shop with a Hero will be Saturday December 1, 2012 at the Walmart in Loganville starting at 8:30 a.m.," said Loganville Fire Chief Danny Roberts. "Loganville Fire & Police will be there to help shop with the children along with other public safety personal."
In order to help raise funds for this program, members of the LFD will have a boot drive Sunday. Roberts said they will be stationed from 9 - 11 a.m. and 3 - 5 p.m. in front of Racetrack, at C.S. Floyd Road and at the intersection of highways 81 and 78.
Roberts said the funds will be distributed to both the elementary schools in the city of Loganville as well as to the Church at the Grove for Shop with a Hero.
"Two shifts have already gone out and the other shift is going this weekend," Roberts said. "Even though this is not a mandatory boot drive the firefighters hit the streets with a smile and collect on average three thousand dollars. This would not be possible without the generosity of so many people who donate."
Roberts said this is the third year that LFD has helped raise funds for the Shop with a Hero program. The money is then used to purchase gift cards from Walmart to be distributed through the schools as well as the Shop with a Hero program.
"Chief (Mike) McHugh (from the Loganville Police Department) and I will be meeting with Russ Butcher this week to finalize the details," Roberts said. Shop with a Hero is organized by the Church at the Grove - spearheaded by Butcher who is the pastor. Local public safety departments, Walmart and other sponsors then make it possible for various public safety officials to take children shopping for themselves and their families for Christmas. Volunteers then wrap the gifts and the children leave with a stack of gifts to leave under the tree for Christmas. The families are treated to hot chocolate and goodies while they wait for the children to shop.
Shop with a Hero is organized for children who might be financially in need but also who have not had a positive experience with members of public safety in the past and and might be considered at risk. It is usually a heartwarming experience for the local heroes shopping with the children. Last year, Butcher said there were numerous instances where the children had to be forced to keep some of the money back to buy a gift for themselves.
“The kids will buy for brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousin – everyone but themselves,” Butcher said