Spreading Christmas cheer

Ellamore VFD takes kids Christmas shopping

BUCKHANNON — Walmart in Buckhannon was taken over Wednesday night by firefighters from Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department intent on spreading Christmas cheer with 20 kids and youth.

In its second year, the fire department more than doubled the number of youth it was able to help thanks to donations from individuals, businesses and churches, according to fire chief Jamie Pugh.

The fire department talked to Union Elementary School administrators for a list of families who might need some extra help at the holidays.

“We figured the school would be able to better identify the kids that needed help,” Pugh said.

After last year’s event, the fire department began raising money to plan for 2018 but fundraising began more in earnest in October, according to Pugh.

“A firefighter’s wife organized a Facebook online auction and they raised a good bit of money from that,” Pugh said.

The money raised from community support helped ensure that each kid could pick out a new coat and pair of boots or shoes. They were then given a $100 limit to purchase whatever they wanted – some choosing to buy more clothes and others taking home bikes, fire trucks, dolls and more.

Firefighters paired up with each kid for a true “Shop with a Firefighter” experience.

“Seeing the kids and the smiles on their faces is what it is all about,” Pugh said.

Firefighter Jeff Dean added, “It feels good to be able to do this. It was pretty awesome.”

Dean said his child buddy was having fun.

“He had one thing picked out and then he switched out for something else – I think just so he could shop some more,” he said.

For Lee Tyson who had two children participate in the event, watching them interact with the firefighters and pick out something for Christmas was a special moment.

“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “It’s really going to make their Christmas.”

Carol Klar’s grandson also took part in the shopping experience.

“I think it’s great they have this,” she said. “They come in here and it puts a big smile on their faces. It’s all about the kids at Christmas.”


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