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Firefighters help Calgary families in need celebrate the holidays

Firefighters help Calgary families in need celebrate the holidays
Hundreds of families were sprinkled with Christmas cheer at the 2019 Calgary Firefighters Toy Association party. As Michael King reports, more than 3,500 presents were handed out.

The Calgary Fire Department held its Toy Association party on Sunday at the Stampede Corral.

The event helps families who may need extra help to celebrate the holidays by providing entertainment, lunch, and gifts.

READ MORE: Morning of Giving 2019: Global Calgary raises over $49K for The Magic of Christmas

The CFD said 1,350 families were invited to the 2019 event, and more than 3,500 presents were handed out.

Mark Hagel, president of the Calgary Firefighters Toy Association, said families are identified through the Calgary Board of Education.

“[The schools] identify the kids that might need that extra hand up,” Hagel said. We send out invitations and they send back all the information for their family from ages zero to 12 and we arrange to have gifts for them.”
Children open presents at the Calgary Firefighters Toy Association party.
Children open presents at the Calgary Firefighters Toy Association party. Michael King/Global News

Hagel said he’s been involved in the Toy Association for 17 years and said it’s a great way to reach out to the community outside of their normal jobs.

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“I think we do a pretty amazing job on a day-to-day basis, but that’s kind of helping people on their worst day,” said Hagel. “For us to be able to share in… maybe their best day of the season, that makes everything really special for us.”

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For those still wanting to help, Hagel said donations are still accepted up until Christmas Day.

“You can still give gifts and they’ll go to children throughout the year. We might be giving them for kids who need birthday presents.”

Indoor light festival helping Calgary-area charities
Indoor light festival helping Calgary-area charities