Helping Hands program brings holiday cheer to children

Sarasota Fire Fighters Benevolent Fund established the initiative

A foster child receives a gift through the Helping Hands program. Image courtesy Sarasota County Fire Department

The Sarasota County Fire Department in, collaboration with the Sarasota Fire Fighters Benevolent Fund and Sarasota Safe Children Coalition, “has brought holiday cheer to 31 local foster children,” the department has announced.

On Dec. 15, “the families were able to receive gifts from a special guest and tour the Fire Station No. 1,” a news release says.

Since it was established by the Sarasota Fire Fighters Benevolent Fund in 2001, the Helping Hands program has helped more 200 children during the holiday season, the release points out. Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier said in the release that the department staff is “excited to help bring a bit of happiness to local children, many of whom are experiencing emotional difficulties.”

The Sarasota Fire Fighters Benevolent Fund was established as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in 1996 to assist Sarasota County firefighters and their families during times of crisis, the release explains. As a result of successful local events and fundraisers, the release continues, the benevolent fund has been able to extend its helping hand to other Florida firefighters and to community residents.