Our primary mission is to replace Christmas toys that children have lost during the holiday season due to a catastrophic fire. Once we learn of an impacted family, we work closely with family members and emergency response crews familiar with the family’s individual needs to try to bring back some of the hope and joy of the holiday season. Following such a devastating loss, we also try to provide necessities such as diapers, formula, toiletries, clothing and school supplies. After purchasing the toys and necessities, we then deliver everything in the fire engine to wherever the family is staying. During the delivery, the children are given a very detailed guided tour of the fire engine and equipment firefighters use. This also allows firefighters to meet and interact with the affected children and the families personally. We are looking to partner with various community organizations and businesses to assist us in our mission.
We are both pleased and proud to announce that we were able to assist and replace the holidays for 8 families that consisted of 24 children ranging in age from 6 months to 17 years. Thanks to our donors, supporters and raffle, we provided over $9,500 to these children and their families. Thanks to you, each year we continue to get better, do more and help more children. This brings our total to 81 children from 30 families, providing about $35,500 in assistance since we started in 2008. In addition to the holiday assistance provided, we also sent 2 children to Camp Beyond the Stars, donated $1,000 to Toys for Tots and donated 20 helmets to LVFR’s Adopt a Bike program. Thank you for your continued support.
If we receive enough donations, our plan is to try and provide approximately $1,000 in assistance to those families who suffer a catastrophic loss during the Christmas holiday season. Our first priority will be to purchase toys for the children. The next step would be to help them with necessities. In an effort to try and continue the holiday spirit, we will be giving the family a small tabletop Christmas tree for their hotel room (if they celebrate Christmas) and also providing them with a holiday dinner. We also plan to give Christmas cards to the children with a little cash in it (remember how you felt as a child when you were given actual money). Whatever is leftover from $1,000 would be given as a gift card to a store close to where the family is staying.
Ultimately, we are hoping to expand our assistance year round to all families with children that suffer these catastrophic fires, but that will depend on donations. Our number one priority will always be the holidays.
Our primary donators donate $5 per pay-period ($130 per year). We also have those who are donating even more. The donations originated in fire dispatch but as the word is getting out and as others see what we are accomplishing, we are expanding out and getting donators from other areas and entities (Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Fire Prevention, Clark County Fire Department fire suppression and fire investigators, Las Vegas Marshals dispatch). We are hopeful the list will continue to grow. A huge thank you goes out to all of our donators because without you, we could not do what we are doing. And of course, we accept all donations. You are not locked into having to donate each pay period.
We started as an official non-profit organization in February 2010 after receiving approval from the IRS and City of Las Vegas Business Licensing. Prior to that, we were a group of caring individuals who were reaching out to those families with children who suffered a catastrophic fire. The idea started in 2008 when nine fire dispatchers started putting away $5 per pay-period. That year, we were able to replace Christmas presents for two local families with children. After sharing those stories and pictures, we tripled in the number of contributors. In 2009, we assisted six local families directly and also gave $700 in toiletries and gift cards to the families at the Rainwalk Apartments. It was also in 2009 that we began the process of forming our fund into an actual charity. We formed a board of directors that consist of fire dispatchers, firefighter representatives from the four valley fire departments, and two local businesses. We then applied for non-profit status from the IRS. In January, we received our IRS approval and applied for our city business license which was approved in early February.