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Fire department, Dollar General partnering for kids

BY BRITTNEE NAVE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
Santa will be delivering toys in a big red fire truck this year.
The Hampton Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Department kicked off their first-ever toy drive this past weekend.
“This is the first year we’ve done this type of thing, with toys anyway,” said Chris Issacs, the fire chief. “In years past, there have been times that we have taken donations and helped individual families, but this is the first time we’ve tried to help a large mass of kids all at once.”
According to Issacs, it all began when the fire department was approached by the Dollar General Manager, Stephanie Marlow about wanting to do a toy drive.
“She said in previous years, other organizations normally did it through her store, but this year no one had contacted her wanting to do it, and she said she didn’t want to miss the opportunity,” he explained. “So, she asked us if we would be willing to head it up and get the toys out.”
Issacs said this was a no brainer for the fire department, and they jumped on the opportunity. He explained that while this is their first year doing something of this magnitude, there had been discussions about wanting to do something like this for quite some time.
“Throughout the country, there is more than 22 percent of children living in families with low-income levels. In our area that is the normal here as well, ” he said. “We’re not immune. And we don’t think any kids should be disappointed on the holidays. If we could do a little bit to help, even if we can’t help as many kids as larger organizations do, we will.”
Issacs explained helping kids in this community have a better holiday is what is most meaningful to the fire department. Additionally, they hope to continue work such as this in the future and even do more.
Toy donations can be dropped off at the Dollar General store located at 5920 Hwy 19E ( the one near Simmerly creek) or at the main fire station on 4th Ave. in Hampton anytime someone can be seen there. The station can be contacted at 423-725-3500. Additionally, Facebook messages can be sent to the fire station, and they will send a firefighter out to pick the presents up.
Issacs said presents can be dropped off until the week of Christmas.
The fire department will be delivering presents on Christmas Eve, and escorting Santa in a firetruck to make his deliveries.