Fire departments gear up for holiday program

Area fire departments are coming together for an annual program that aims to bring Christmas cheer to every family in the Wapakoneta area.

The 30th annual Christmas Cheer Program will be taking place in Wapakoneta, and is hosted by the Wapakoneta, Uniopolis, St. Johns and Buckland fire departments.

“The Christmas Cheer Program continues to be a program to collect toys and food items to provide at least enough food for a meal and gifts for Christmas,” Christmas Cheer Program Chair and Wapakoneta Fire Chief Kendall Krites said.

The goal of this program is to provide a Christmas, with food and gifts, for families in need.

This program was established to help local needy families enjoy a Christmas that they might not have had otherwise.

The recipients eligible for this program must live in the Wapakoneta City School district and are in one of the four fire department districts, Wapakoneta, Uniopolis, St. Johns or Buckland.

Last year, Krites said 336 families benefited from this program, and he expects to see the same amount for this year.

“We know the need is there and we see it year after year,” Krites said.

Krites noted that the program has grown large, so he does not see any way to discontinue this program any time soon.

Local business have stepped up and donated monetary donations. Local churches have been hosting toy drives, which is where the majority of the toys for the program come from.

“We get hundreds of wrapped gifts,” Krites said. “It’s fantastic.”

A canned food drive will take place at the Wapakoneta City Schools beginning after Thanksgiving break, and perishable items will be purchased for the families with the monetary donations from businesses and individuals.

“We get a great response from local businesses,” Krites said.

Krites and the Christmas Cheer Program committee members are grateful for the continued support in the community for this program.

In addition, Tranquility Spinal Care LLC, 1103 Gardenia Drive, Suite 2, Wapakoneta, is partnering with the fire departments to help with this effort.

Dr. Aaron Kiefer is offering to provide patrons with a private health screening, postural examination, computerized nervous system scan, any necessary x-rays and a detailed report of his findings in exchange for a $25 donation of canned food, toys or cash. These services are valued at $300.

The services that Kiefer provides will help determine if care may be beneficial for the patient.

There is no obligation to continue care once the patient has received their report, as the decision to begin correcting health problems at that point is up to the person.

This opportunity is only available until Dec. 21 and a scheduled appointment at the office is required. Call 419-738-9888 to schedule an appointment.

In addition, The Dance Centre is also helping with the Christmas Cheer Program.

“This takes a lot of people,” Krites said of the efforts to continue this event each year.

The food items and toys will be sorted out beginning on Dec. 6 and will be delivered on Dec. 15.