For some lucky Ridgefield children, Christmas will come early this year when Santa Claus delivers joy as well as gifts to their home … on a fire engine!
For the third consecutive season, the Ridgefield Professional Firefighters’ union is collaborating with Santa and his elves to surprise the town’s children. Between now and Thanksgiving, parents can register online for a brief daytime visit from Santa, during which he will arrive with his helpers via firetruck, present each child with a gift provided ahead of time by parents, and pose for photos with the family.
Each visit is a thrilling moment for everyone involved.
“Seeing the kids’ faces when Santa arrives is awesome,” says IAFF Local 1739 president Drew Loya, a Ridgefield firefighter and paramedic. “As first responders, we usually see people in times of crisis — it’s so great to be greeted by screams of joy instead.”
All proceeds from the event will go into IAFF Local 1739’s charitable fund to help families in need throughout the year. A minimum donation of $75 is required for a firetruck visit, though stand-alone contributions in any amount are always welcome.
In the past, this event has generated as much as $10,000 to help disabled and terminally ill children, the homebound elderly and others in need. Beneficiaries have included individuals and organizations such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Ridgefield Social Services, the Joshua Foundation and the Are You OK? program.
“The Santa program is also a good way for us to remind families about fire safety at this time of year, when folks are using their fireplaces or pellet stoves and lighting candles,” adds Mr. Loya.
Visits will take place on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Parents may choose a general time period that works best for their family. A limited number of stops will be available each day.
Register online at www.local1739.org or stop by the Ridgefield Firehouse at 6 Catoonah Street. (Forms will not be accepted by mail!) A donation of at least $75 per stop is required. Deadline for registration is Nov. 22. For more information, contact Kirstin Cerulli at [email protected]
IAFF Local 1739 represents the 35 professional firefighters.