EFR seeks families to adopt
November 19, 2013
As the holiday season draws near, Eastside Fire & Rescue is once again looking to help area families.
EFR’s adopt-a-family program has grown each year, with the goal of giving families financial help and inviting them to a firehouse for a holiday dinner. Last year, the program helped 26 families.
The Eastside Fire Benevolent Fund seeks to assist residents who are unable to buy gifts for their families during the holidays.
Tim Castner, a firefighter with Station 78 in Renton, helps coordinate both charity efforts. Each year, he contacts churches, schools, food banks and other social assistance entities to find families in need.
“This program is not for just any family in need,” Castner said. “It is for the families who slip through the cracks after Thanksgiving. For one reason or another, they don’t meet a criteria or missed the food bank program or are new to town.”
After locating families, Castner said, EFR officials conduct interviews to determine the age of children in the family and their gift wish lists.
EFR is then able to create a geographic map of families and match them with corresponding fire stations and retail outlets. Participating stores set up Christmas trees adorned with paper snowflakes that contain gift requests, and patrons can purchase any gift they choose. EFR crews pick up the purchases as necessary and store them for future delivery, Castner said.
“We combine all of the gifts at the closest station and work as a team to make deliveries in our engines without interrupting our calls or our in-service status,” Castner said.