PITTSBURG — Firefighters with the Pittsburg Fire Department showed up in their fire trucks at Walmart on Thursday, but not because there was a fire to put out.
Every year since 1998 the fire department has taken several children shopping for Christmas presents. Children are selected to go shopping with the firefighters based on need, and all children that go each year come from a single Pittsburg school, which changes every year on a rotating basis. This year nine students from Lakeside Elementary School got to go shopping.
“We usually spend anywhere from $75 to $100 per kid,” said Captain Rich Wood, “and then tonight we’ll deliver the gifts to their house with the fire truck and stuff and make sure that they have a good Christmas in the City of Pittsburg.”
Fourth grader Marianah Wells, who went shopping with firefighter Eric VanBecelaere, said she got a doll, two board games, a hula hoop, a “Ryan’s Surprise Egg,” and a Barbie doll mermaid that she “can stick sparkly slime inside to make it colorful.”
“It was cool to get to go shopping with a firefighter,” she said.
Wells said her new toys will be fun to play with on Christmas — if she can bring them with her to Colorado.
“My grandma is a traveling nurse, and they went to Colorado so we’re going there for Christmas,” she said.
Fifth grader Tre-sean Hammonds went shopping with firefighter Charles Cummins. Hammonds said Cummins helped him find some of the toys he was looking for, which he said was his favorite part of getting to go Christmas shopping. Hammonds got a remote control car, a soccer ball, and the game “Plumber Pants” — along with an actual pair of pants.
“I had a good time,” Hammonds said.