Originally Published: January 3, 2019 8:27 p.m.
Firefighters and staff at the Mayer Fire Department (MFD) adopted three families for the holidays.
The Mayer Unified School District identified students from low-income families and gave their names to MFD, said Jake Alanis, 2018 Fulltime Firefighter of the Year, who headed the Adopt a Family program this year.
“We provide Christmas dinner and presents for all the children,” Alanis said. “The goodies are delivered by Santa on a fire truck on the morning of Dec. 24.”
He spoke with the mothers ahead of time to get names, ages and clothing sizes of the children.
“I find out their interests, if they want anything specific, what colors they like and don’t like,” he said.
Like other Mayer firefighters, he lives in Peoria. They visited Walmart to do the shopping for the toys and wrapped the gifts.
The Adopt a Family program is part of the Mayer Firefighters Charities, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. MFD employees donate out of their paychecks all year long to fund different projects like this one, the children’s burn camp in Prescott, and to Mayer Elementary and High School sports programs as well.
Alanis said this year the Mayer Firefighters Charities also received funds from Credit Union West. Local residents used bins in Mayer and Cordes Lakes to donate new toys.
The “adopted” families are aware the fire department would be coming to their homes with presents, but have no idea what to expect. Between 13 and 14 firefighters showed up on the engines with Santa Claus.
“We are mainly concerned about the children,” Alanis said in a Dec. 19 phone conversation. “We want to provide a full Christmas meal for them. We don’t ask about the demographics for home.”
He did know that two families had four children, and the other family had two.
On Dec. 26, Alanis reported that the event went “great.”
“We delivered a lot of presents and we made a lot of kids happy.”
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