By Sarrah Peters
City of Gadsden Fire Chief Stephen Carroll gave a report on the fire department’s Toys from Santa toy drive at the Gadsden City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 5.
“We do three primary charities during the year, the muscular dystrophy campaign, our cancer awareness campaign and the one that is the closest to our hearts is the Toys from Santa campaign,” said Carroll.
The Gadsden Fire Department teamed up with the Salvation Army to bring presents to local kids for Christmas.
“This is for local children in Gadsden and Etowah County,” said Carroll.
The toys from Santa program gave $13,000 to the Salvation Army to assist the organization in providing toys for 300 children.
In addition to assisting the Salvation Army, the fire department made Christmas possible for 225 more local children.
“We were able to touch the lives of over 500 children this year,” said Carroll.
Of the fire department’s 225 children, 100 were taken to Wal-Mart to spend $100 each. The remaining 125 children were provided with donated toys from the campaign. The department also gave away 50 bicycles.
“It was a great campaign this year,” said Carroll.
Carroll made it a point to thank some of the many companies and clubs that help the fire department raise the $20,000 necessary to help all the disadvantaged children.
The fire department would like to thank The Gadsden Mall for allowing donations to be collected there. The department would also like to thank The Santa Claus Society for doing a fundraiser for the campaign that raised over $3,500 this year. Team One Toyota donated 19 of the 50 bikes given away this year. Carroll also thanked The Willow Tree, Landcrafters, the Gadsden Country Club, the Red Knight Motorcycle Club, Keystone Bank, Teacher’s Credit Union, Family Savings Credit Union, WinSouth Credit Union, The Dollar General and many more on behalf of the fire department.
“Thank you all for supporting us, and the mayor for supporting us and allowing us to do this,” said Carroll. “Without your support, we would not be able to raise this money and actually be out here and help these disadvantaged children out.
Carroll also related the story of an individual that donated $300, stating that his family had decided to donate money for disadvantaged children instead of exchanging presents among themselves.
Council members and Mayor Sherman Guyton thanked the fire department for the work they do with Toys from Santa.
“I commend the fire department and Chief Carroll for each year taking on that addition to help,” said District 2 Councilman Deverick Williams.
“Thanks, chief, for you and your guys and all you do,” said Guyton.