The Fulton Fire Department makes a living saving lives and property, but during the Jaycee's Christmas Parade Saturday, they hope to save Christmas for about 400 local children.
FFD officials have asked parade-goers to bring new toys with them when the parade kicks off at 1 p.m. from Fulton State Hospital. Firefighters will walk along the route collecting the toys, which they will then bring to SERVE, Inc. to benefit their Adopt a Family Christmas drive.
"I was talking to (Callaway Action Network Director) Julie Roark with SERVE, and she said that the amount of people seeking assistance with Christmas this year that has grown," said Engineer Todd Gray. "It was like 400 kids, and from newborn to 4 years it's 150 kids. When she started rattling that off I thought "holy cow, that's bad,' and we hope to make a few more kids' Christmas a little brighter."
Gray said that some donations have already made their way to the Fulton Fire Department by way of word of mouth, but he hoped to make a bigger haul off the parade route - the department has borrowed a truck from Fulton Ford to gather the toys for the trip to SERVE's headquarters off County Road 304.
Roark said that without donors through the Adopt a Family program, qualifying children of low-income families will not have Christmas gifts to open.
In addition to the 400 children, Roark said about 50 adults also have yet to be adopted by donors due to lower turnout.