New York Firefighters to the rescue to save Christmas

Published 8:35 am Saturday, December 9, 2017

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Children will be able to select toys from 9 a.m. – noon on Saturday at North Orange Baptist Church and Community Christian Church thanks to 36 Firefighters from New York City.

Santa Claus and local fire and police departments will be present at each location to greet children and their families.

The toys were collected by the Stephen Siller Tunnel 2 Towers Foundation.

Two 18-wheelers full of toys left New York earlier this week to be distributed by current and retired members of the New York Fire Department.

Tens of thousands of dollars in toys were collected in ‘Toys 4 Texas’ camapaign in New York and Connecticut and from a 9/11 organization begun in memory of a fallen firefighter, according to a press release.

John Hodge, COO of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, established in memory of a fallen 9/11 firefighter, and which spearheaded the “Toys 4 Texas” campaign, and has donated tens of thousands of dollars of toys, said the goal is to help families celebrate the holidays even if they are overwhelmed after Hurricane Harvey. Hodge said that because 80 percent of the homes did not have flood insurance, there remains a lot to be done.

“The reality is those homes are not going to be rebuilt or repaired any time soon, so we think the kids are probably facing a pretty bleak Christmas already,” Hodge said. “We want to try to bring them a little bit of joy for the holidays.”

As part of the “Toys 4 Texas” campaign, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation collected toys at drop-off points throughout New York and Connecticut.

Tunnels to Towers Foundation has been in the area mucking out homes and helping with drywall as well.

Pastor Chris Lewis, of Community Christian Church, was a pastor in Connecticut prior to serving in Orange. His former church, Faith Church, was significant in the collecting of toys for the area.