In less than two months, Santa Claus will be making his way to town.
Now, we all know that as the years go by, the jolly old man needs a little more help to ensure that every child has a good Christmas. To once again assist him and his elves, those at the Rupert Volunteer Fire Department have decided to collect toys that will be given to those less fortunate in the town and surrounding area.
According to event organizer Jeramy Bailey, he and his wife, Nicole, both Rupert residents, started the toy drive because they wanted to do something good for those in the town of Rupert.
“We were brainstorming ways to help out our community and the best way to do it,” Bailey said. “Children can’t help their situation, so we wanted to give them a good Christmas.”
He added that before Christmas last year, he approached his dad, Rupert Fire Chief Rocky Bailey, to ask if those at the fire department would help. They all jumped on board the idea and the toy drive began.
“They had a really good time doing it last year,” Bailey said of the firefighters as they delivered toys to kids throughout town. So, they are helping out again this year.
The goal is to reach five families, Bailey explained. Last year, the five families sponsored by those at the fire department received about $500 worth of toys each.
This Christmas, family nominations are currently being accepted. All family nominations are private, Bailey stated. Once the family is nominated, someone will reach out to them and see what they need.
Additionally, the department will be hosting a Christmas event on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 6-8 p.m., where toys will be handed out to children, Bailey said. Kids will get to check out the fire trucks, there will be hot chocolate and even pictures with Santa.
To make all this happen, the Baileys and fire department members need help from those in the community.
New, unwrapped toys and monetary donations are being accepted. All gifts for those under 18 are welcome.
Bailey noted that last year, a lot of gifts were handed out to children ages 10-12. The oldest child was 14. This year, he said he anticipates most of the children to be around the age of 4, but because it is still early, he asks that a wide range of age-appropriate gifts be donated.
“We want every kid to get a toy,” Bailey said of his plans during the Christmas event. “We are hoping to get as many as we can.”
Bailey noted that last year, to meet demand, firefighters donated a lot of their own money just so every child could have a present.
To nominate a family who may need a little extra help this year, or to make a donation, call Nicole at 304-228-1545, or private message the Rupert Volunteer Fire Department’s Facebook page.
Bailey added that local business leaders who want to help out are encouraged to do so.