PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (WFLA) – As soon as the parade of fire engines and fire truck rolled up to her mobile home, Jahaira Sanchez pulled out her phone to capture the moment.
“Very special,” Sanchez said. “[I] feel very lucky and blessed.”
Sanchez and her family were among the few in Pinellas Park on Tuesday who received special help from the local fire department.
“They are great at helping the community,” Sanchez said. “For the people who need help during this holiday season.”
Local Union 2193 reported to Publix and purchased Thanksgiving meals and all the necessary ingredients – from breakfast to dessert – for families in need.
“Some of these people are people that we may have made a 911 call to, maybe even a car accident or maybe a medical emergency,” said Deputy Chief Rob Angell. “Now they can return to their homes and deliver a meal to those in need.”
Today’s shopping spree cost about $1,100 – paid for by the union’s charitable fund as well as donations and fundraisers from the past year.
“Being able to give back and that’s probably the most fun thing about being a firefighter and a first responder,” Angell said. “Gives something back to our community.”
It wasn’t just firefighters and first responders who filled their shopping baskets – their families and children also joined in.
“You see a lot of little kids here,” Angell explained. “Toddlers, infants to teenagers. The great thing about it is that they can bring their family and show the children and their family how they can give back to the community.”
Fire brigade candidates – high school students – also helped. The fire department has traditionally delivered Thanksgiving meals for 20 years.
“You need a little charity in your life to balance it all out,” said firefighter Jason Pickett.
If you would like to apply, you can go to the Pinellas Park Fire Department Headquarters (11350 43rd St) and fill out an application.