Shopping spree unites families, firefighters

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URBANA, Ill. (WAND) – Firefighters in Urbana helped provide central Illinois families with Christmas gifts this year.

Families chosen through social workers, Unit 4 schools and area churches each received $500 for a shopping spree Wednesday at Walmart and Meijer. The spree served a total of 10 families.

Each store sponsored five of those families.

Urbana Fire Marshal Phil Edwards says he hopes the shopping spree can help make a difference in the future when emergencies happen.

“When they call 911, we’re coming out when they’re probably having the worst day of their lives and we don’t want that to be the only time they see firefighters,” Edwards said. “So by programs like this, they’re able to see us as friends, so if they do have to call 911, they feel like there’s someone coming to help that they already have a relationship with as opposed to just a stranger.”

Firefighters spent time with the children in these families while their parents shopped for Christmas gifts.

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