By Elizabeth Varville, Journal Correspondent
The Belton Fire Department was once again filled with the Christmas spirit on the morning of December 19 as recipients of the Santa Pal program received their Christmas presents donated from the surrounding Belton community. Between 10 to 12 firemen directed and loaded vehicles as each family arrived throughout the morning.
“We told them (the families) a specific time so they are not all here at once. Families were scheduled in 15 minute intervals to pick up their boxes,” said Assistant Chief Kris Morgan.
The boxes were filled with gifts ranging from footballs to art sets.
“We tried to give each child three to four presents depending on the quality of the presents plus stocking stuffers. Bikes were a one-present gift due to the value. The age we found to be the hardest to get donations were for girls ages eight to 14 years. Businesses in Belton really helped us the last week of the drive. TRUmh homes donated $500 and a huge load of toys. Schoepf’s Bar-B-Que and First State Bank donated toys along with HEB donating a hundred dollars,” said Morgan.
Ninety families with 280 children benefitted from the Santa Pal program this year. As the fireman loaded each vehicle, one could see how truly grateful the families were for the donations.
“It’s a great program. They help me every year get presents for my five kids. It’s hard for me because I don’t have much so it helps me a lot with my children, especially the younger ones,” said Guatalupe Kotzin of Belton.
BFD also sponsored a food drive for the Belton community.
“The food drive was a big success again this year. Trophies Etc. donated the banners and we parked a trailer on Sparta Road. Each morning the gate was opened at 8 a.m.
People would just stop by and donate randomly for about a month. We did 3,852 pounds of food and that all went to the Helping Hands Ministry here in Belton.
All the food stayed local with some of the food going to Academy. We also had $150 monetary donations which helped to buy Hams,” said Morgan.