Kids Go Christmas Shopping with Ocala Firefighters
For some kids in Marion County today was their Christmas day.
Nineteen kids from Wyomina Park Elementary School went shopping with their Santas who looked suspiciously like ocala firefighters.
This event goes back about 14 years ago, but it's been five years since the firefighters have taken the kids shopping for Christmas.
Mainly because Captain Cathy Fender retired and then passed away about a year and a half ago.
Now ocala fire fighters feel it's time to bring it back.
Six- year- old Favion Hernandez is one of 19 kids who spent the day shopping with firefighters.
"He just wanted to give his whole family everything. His cousin, his brother, his mother and then he shopped for himself," said Dillan Lawson who is Ocala firefighter.
Lawson and Chase Howard took Favion around the store buying him a basketball, a scooter and a movie.
Thirty-one other firefighters helped the kids pick out presents for their family members.
"I got my little sister a play set. A little hello kitty play set since she loved it so much," said Jordan who is student.
"Not all the kids are as fortunate as the others. It's real nice to get them out here and get the smiles on their faces and kind of give them that holiday spirit not all of them get a chance to have," said Howard.
The last time the Ocala firefighters did this was five years ago.
"We brought it back as Cathy's kids as a remembrance of Cathy Fender one of our past away firefighters," said Preston Bowlin who is an Ocala firefighter.
Walmart donated $25 gift cards to each child.
The Never Say Never Foundation donated $20 for shoes.
The firefighters pay the rest out of their own pockets.
Papa Johns supported the event by providin lunch to the kids, school staff and firefighters.
One of the guidance counselors at Wyomina Park Elementary said it breaks his heart to hear what some of the kids say after they've gone shopping.
"One of the students said I am going to make sure to give some of my toys to the poor because I know what it's like to be poor and I know what it's like to not have a house and not have any presents. So I am going to make sure to take some of my presents down to some of these places where we've stayed before," said Kerry Swan.
Swan said they have a very careful selection process to make sure the most needy get chosen and the kids I spoke to showed their gratitiude.
"The firefighters were really nice and they helped us pay for the things we needed for Christmas and I thank them all very much," said Francisco Pineda.
The kids had no limit on how much they could spend, but I can tell you those firefighters definetely spolied them.
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