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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Santa surprises kids at Adopt-a-Family Christmas event

“Chico – 2-year-old Silas Somasak’s eyes widened as Santa Claus smiled and walked towards him.

Wrapping paper, warm clothes, and a large ham dinner sat toys just outside their door—a Christmas hand delivered by none other than Santa and his elves; The “elves” are the Chico Firefighters’ Association local 2734 volunteers.

The association celebrated its 26th annual Adopt-a-Family Christmas event, coordinated by retired Chico Fire Inspector Mary Fickert. The program partners with agencies working with low-income families and distributes toys and clothing donated by the community.

“It’s great that you can do this for us,” parent Arlene Harris told Fickert during a delivery. “Sometimes it gets so hard all year, you know.”

Fickert said he worked with an agency to find families in need and gave them a form to submit their children’s wish lists to Santa Claus. Then, they collect the donations and distribute them via Chico’s fire trucks.

Jessica Wilson was the recipient of the program and was able to get some gifts for her children, Hunter Edwards and Lucas Edwards.

“I finally have a weekend to rest. I work a ton, so it’s hard to spend time with the kids without the laundry, the dishes, things like that.” Wilson said. “That’s right because we Really enjoy it sitting down.”

Fickert said donations to the program come from donation barrels managed by New Earth Market, Chico’s Walmart and Amber Grove Neighborhood; and is supported by William Jones of SERVPRO.

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“Even though it was raining, the neighbors walked on their toys; He drove the car and rolled down his window and handed out his toys,” Fickert said. “He has the spirit of Christmas despite the really bad weather.”

Fickert’s father was a lieutenant for the Butte County Sheriff’s Department and started a toy drive with some employees. Fickert said he would find low-income families and that Santa Claus would ride in a squad car to bring the toys back in the day.

“I grew up helping my father do that program. And I wanted to do it for the fire department when I was hired,” Fickert said. “Since childhood, I wanted to carry on my family legacy. I just wanted to be the next generation and be able to help my community by passing the torch on.”

The Chico Fire Association met at Hope Commons Church on Saturday morning and prepared its cars with donations for 60 children from 25 families. During the delivery, extra toys were given to neighborhood children who saw Santa boarding fire engines.

“I like to keep the Christmas tradition alive,” said Arlene Harris. “As much as I think our kids are frustrated with electronics and streaming today, it’s good that the Easter Bunny and Santa still mean something.”

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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