Despite early worries that this year’s Danville Firefighters’ Christmas Toy Drive would fall short of its goals, interim Fire Chief Woody Ball said it wound up being a record-setting year for the annual charitable event.
The Danville and Perryville fire departments provided Christmas gifts for 421 children this year — more than ever before, Ball said. Last year 346 children were signed up to receive gifts.
Firefighters set another record by raising about $38,000 — a full $10,000 more than their target fundraising goal. More than $30,000 of that came in after Nov. 24, when donations had reached just $6,500.
After spending an average of $70 on each child, the fire department is left with just less than $10,000 to carry-over for next year’s toy drive, Ball said. Last year the fire department carried over $6,784.
Ball said the fire department also received more than $4,000 worth of new toys.
“This is the most we have ever helped in the history of the program,” he said.
Danville firefighter Colby Reik said the entire department worked extra in the run-up to Christmas to buy all the gifts needed for the children. Firefighters shopped for 20 to 30 kids a day in order to get everything bought in time for the big day.
“I’ve been working a lot recently because of this. They work us extra for the holiday season,” he said as he perused toy aisles in Walmart on the Tuesday before Christmas. “It feels pretty good. I feel honored to be able to give to kids whose parents can’t afford it. It’s just real rewarding.”