Franklin Fire Co. collecting donations for deployed service members

November 20, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Ken North, a volunteer with Franklin Fire Co., stands next to some of the donations the company is collecting to send to soldiers staioned overseas.
Photo by Jennifer Fitch

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Organizers of a Franklin County, Pa., collection for deployed service members are hoping Black Friday shoppers “stuff a firetruck” full of donations.

Franklin Fire Co. on West King Street in Chambersburg is in the midst of its third annual Stuff A Firetruck drive. Fire officials are collecting snacks, hygiene items, games, books, phone cards, and apparel such as gloves for individuals deployed overseas.

Volunteers are seeking donations through Friday evening and addresses of service members through Tuesday.

Organizer Ken North, a volunteer with Franklin Fire Co., said past recipients have called, visited or sent letters of thanks. He said their family members occasionally stop him in stores to offer gratitude for the program.

“It touches you that they remember,” he said.

North said he was listening to the radio one day when he heard promotions for two different events and combined them in his mind to develop Franklin Fire Co.’s initiative. In each of the first two years, an anonymous donor contributed more than $1,500 to ship the donations.

This year, donated items are fewer than usual, but financial contributions are on the increase, North said.

“People gave us money instead of gifts. They said, ‘Buy whatever you need to buy,’” he said.

With many of the recipients serving in Afghanistan, cold weather gear such as leggings, socks, knit caps and gloves are needed, North said. So far, about 10 recipients are on the list, he said.

Boxes will be packed next week. Some types of items, such as liquids, cannot be shipped internationally.

North said sending donations to service members cuts down on the things they need to buy on their own.

The firefighters want to engage their own community and help deployed individuals who have a dangerous job, according to North.

“We build a relationship with them, and that’s cool,” he said.

For more information or to submit a service member’s address, call 717-729-2302 or email People making donations this week are asked to park behind the fire hall and not block the main bay doors.

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