CHICO, Calif. - Chico Fire held their 25th Adopt-A-Family Event this year. Organizers tell Action News Now they have gifts and food for 106 children that make up 36 families.
Fire Captain Ken Smith says he considers this his Christmas, and has been part of the event since it started.
"We collect gifts all year long and then we break them up. Then we provide them with a whole Christmas dinner and dried goods to get them through...It has ups and downs because you feel empathy, but at the same time you see the greatness in the smiles," said
"One of the biggest donors for this event is ServPro and the owner says they do this because they believe in restoring people's lives.
"Firefighters do that everyday, they put their lives on the line, we get to come in behind them and help them restore people's lives after a disaster," said William Jones.
One of the traditions used for the Adopt-A-Family Event is the 48 American La France which has been used to deliver gifts for over 20 years.
Robert Fickert restored the Engine that has been in Chico since 1948 and now uses it for events.
"We do a lot of apartment complexes and low income neighborhoods with this engine, we are like the Pied Piper, many times before I even turn the motor off I have kids coming from every direction...Santa stays and sees every kid that comes to us in that neighborhood or apartment complex and every kid that comes to us gets something," said Fickert.
Michael Sterling said it was the first time his family needed the help.
"I think it's good that the city of Chico is giving back to those in this time of need because you know with COVID and everything shut down I think it was a great idea," said Sterling.
Sterling says his job was hit hard by the pandemic, so he is happy his kids get this experience.
"It means the world to us, very blessed for sure. I got a kick out of her seeing Santa for the first time. She was very excited to see Santa drive by and him to play the role for like he was coming from the North Pole and she was like Santa? It was a good feeling as a dad for sure," said Sterling.
Organizers say they found families in need through a disclosed organization. They say there are multiple different organizations and people who help make the event possible, so they are thankful.
They also added the Adopt-A-Family is not taking on any new families this year.