Westerville News & Public Opinion

Genoa firefighters and Santa to help local groups

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The Genoa Township Professional Firefighters Association will host an afternoon with Santa and Mrs. Claus Saturday, Dec. 8, as firefighters collect donations of food, toys, coats and more to support three local charities.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand for pictures in McNamara Park, 7049 Big Walnut Road, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m..

At the same time, the Sunny 95/Meijer Treat Truck will be on site to pass out free candy and snacks.

Those who attend are encouraged to bring monetary donations, nonperishable food items, new toys and new or gently used coats.

Items collected will be given to the Westerville Area Resource Ministry, the Big Walnut Friends Who Share and the Charity Newsies.

There also will be a drop-off area for those who want to make quick donations but don't want to get out and partake in the festivities.

The Genoa Township Professional Firefighters Association typically collects toys for local families in need, but the event benefitting the three local charities is new this year, said group spokesman Michael Maher.

"We've had an outpouring amount of support over the last number of years for our toy drive," Maher said.

"As we near Christmas, the room that we have set aside for that is absolutely full," he said.

"We're ready to branch out to the larger public and help the families in need in our area."

The Sunbury-based Big Walnut Friends Who Share typically receive the toys and canned goods collected each year by the firefighters.

WARM and the Charity Newsies were added as benefactors this year because the firefighters hope the event will help them collect a larger amount of donations, Maher said.

The hope, Maher said, is that the event is enough of a success to make it a regular part of the holiday season in Genoa Township.

"We hope to make this an annual event," he said.

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