March 6, 2013 — It’s been nearly three months since the last Shop with a Firefighter event with the Grayson fire department but the 2013 event is already in the works.
In 2012, 23 area children were treated to a pizza party and a shopping trip by the GFD but a new fundraising effort will hopefully double that amount for this year.
In years past, the department did a boot drive, collecting donations in their fire boots on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
That, in addition to donations from local businesses and individuals created the opportunity for a merrier Christmas.
This year the department will host a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to raise more money to allow the firefighters to sponsor more kids.
“Whatever we collected during the boot drive, we would divide by 100 and have the number of kids to sponsor,” said Lt. Mike Harper. “This will also be another way to get more people involved.”
The double elimination tournament will be held April 6 at East Carter High School. Each team can have up to five players, but only three can be on the court at a time. The entry fee will be $50 per team.
The Grayson and Hitchins fire departments are currently involved in the program but Harper hopes more will join.
“We have kids from all over the county so we are hoping to have departments from across the county as well,” Harper said. “We want to put all the support in one boot.”
Harper said they usually ask the parents of the children not to let the kids in on the surprise. They come to the firehouse and have a pizza party, then listen to a reading of the Christmas story from the Bible.
“We want them to understand the real reason for the season,” Harper said. “Then, the best part, we get to see their little faces light up when we tell them we are taking them shopping.”