SOMERSWORTH — For the past three decades, firefighters have helped provide gifts for the holidays to local families in need.
This year is no different. Volunteers are needed to help wrap toys and incoming donations — during a gift wrapping party beginning Friday at 6 p.m. in the Somersworth Fire Station at 195 Maple St.
Firefighter Matthew Moore, who's helping organize efforts, said they need about 100 people to help wrap the gifts, but expect to receive a lot of help from local students and residents.
"Once word gets out, people come running," Moore said.
Moore said residents had several opportunities to submit applications to receive gifts through the program — which requires them to provide proof of residency as well as their child's name, age and clothing size.
While the deadline has passed, Moore said they always try to have extra, just in case there's a need or a fire around the holidays.
"We're not going to turn anyone away," Moore said.
Moore said there's still time to donate toys, clothes or other items — especially for boys and girls ages 11 to 14. He added they still need clothes and gifts — like music gift cards and make up — for teenagers.
Moore said firefighters are planning to provide about 450 gifts to local newborns, children and teenagers — up to age 14.
"We do roughly three gifts per kid," Moore said, adding they're pretty close to having enough presents, especially since an anonymous donor brought in "a bunch of iTunes gift cards."
Nonetheless, Moore said firefighters accept new, unwrapped toys, clothes and gift cards year-round to ensure there are enough toys and gifts for all in need "so we're not scrambling at the end of the year."
"For us, it's been pretty steady," Moore said, adding far more people are in need compared to when firefighters first started the program more than 30 years ago.
"Together with local merchants and community members, we have made the holiday season brighter for many families. The enormous generosity of businesses, school organizations, civic groups and other community members has enabled us to help others in their time of need," according to a release by firefighters.
Donations can be mailed or delivered to the Somersworth Fire Station at 195 Maple St. in Somersworth, NH 03878. For information or to contact firefighters to arrange a pick-up, contact the Somersworth Professional Firefighters at 692-3456.