By Okon Ekpenyong
For 43 years, NBC4 has partnered with Firefighters 4 Kids to make miracles happen all year round, especially during the holiday season. Generally, they put together quarterly and annual events like a toy drive to collect toys for the neighborhood children.
Firefighters 4 Kids began in 1977, and Mike Mullin, a Columbus Firefighter, noticed a need for it, and that’s how the vision started.
The New American Magazine caught up with the organizers of this year’s Firefighters 4 Kids toy drive at CAS (Empowering Innovation and Scientific Discoveries) headquarters in Columbus.
Josh Combs is the Creative Service Director at NBC4 and has been with the station for five years. Combs spoke to the New Americans Magazine about this year’s Firefighters 4 Kids Toy Drive.
How it all started:
It is the first year doing it at CAS, typically the last 43 years; we’ve had it at NBC4 located at 3165 Olentangy River Road and other locations. But this year, due to the Pandemic, we wanted to be outside in an area where people could spread out. They passed 525 cars within two and a half hours around 2:30 pm; it started at noon and ended at 4 pm.
CAS down the road from the station partnered up with NBC4 allowing this year’s toy drive to be at their campus, showcasing their commitment to the community. CAS and the station have teamed up for other events in the past, but it is the first year that the station, CAS, and Columbus Division of Fire are teaming up for the toy drive.
Relationship with New Americans Community:
Firefighters 4 Kids has a long history of delivering toys to kids across Central Ohio to make them feel the love on Christmas Day. Central Ohio is a giving community, and that was on display today. It will all manifest itself to kids across the district on Christmas morning.
Drop off locations:
Dec. 12th-24th (Christmas Eve) anyone wanting to donate a physical gift or unwrapped items can drop it off at any CME Credit unions or Franklin County Fire Stations. An individual can also visit the NBC4 website, and there’s a link to firefighters 4 Kids if you wish to donate online. It has been a great event, and this is what Central Ohio is all about, and it is just really a blessing to witness it all.
CAS staff member:
Barb Fleeter is a staff member at CAS as a Computer Scientist. They provide chemical researches and beyond chemistry in the scientific world.
“We are on the first shift doing the cheering, especially when there are cars lining up, we pump up the crowds. When our required “shift” is over, we are anxious to head back to the staging here to see how many toys are out there.”
Firefighters 4 Kids:
Doug Smith retired as battalion chief for the Columbus Division of Fire six years ago and was with the department for thirty-five years. Chief Smith started volunteering with the organization 25 years ago.
“We’ve been partnering with the station since the organization started. We still have the same toys to start it off from two years ago, but we are running thin, so today’s donations will help out while getting us back to where we need to be, indeed. It is, however, our first season with CAS, and we are delighted with this location. CAS staff are very engaging with everybody, and hopefully, we can continue to work with them.”
Today’s Toy drive will stay in Central Ohio and focus more on helping Central Ohio families. Once all of the toys are collected, it heads to the organization’s warehouse, and come Christmas let the joy begin.
If the organization receives cash donations, they buy large balk of toys/gifts throughout the year. Visit their website at https://www.firefighters4kids.com/ to see how you can help.