December 8th, 2021
Indianapolis Firefighters spent this morning celebrating an early Christmas with 50 area children, eating breakfast, shopping for clothes and visiting with Santa. Each year as part of the IFD Clothe-A-Child program, children in need of assistance are assigned an IFD Firefighter, who helps them shop for a warm coat, clothes for school and new shoes for the winter. The day started early with the children arriving at the Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Union Hall at 7:00 am where they are given a hearty breakfast, cooked firehouse style, by IFD firefighters. After breakfast, the kids and firefighters boarded buses, graciously donated by Free Enterprise and headed to Greenwood Park Mall where they shopped at JC Penney Department Store. A third year partner, JC Penney made shopping fun and easy, graciously opening their doors early for the group to shop. About $10,000 is spent outfitting the 50 children every year. Once the shopping was complete, the buses returned the children and firefighters to the Union Hall where they visited with Santa and opened a gift.
Many of the firefighters are joined at this event, by their families, teaching their own children the value of helping others, especially during the holidays. Firefighters, children and spouses make this truly a family affair.
The IFD Clothe-A-Child program is solely funded by donations through specific gifts and the Fill the Bell Program. Clothe-A-Child began in the 1940’s as the Mile-O-Dimes campaign in conjunction with the Indianapolis Times Newspaper. When the Times ceased publication in 1965, the IFD established the Fill the Bell to Clothe-A-Child Program and has been an IFD charity for over 56 years.
Firefighters are now “standing the bell” for the two weeks prior to Christmas (Dec. 10-23) at Castleton Square Mall (Macy’s) from 10 am to 8 pm daily. Look for the little red fire engine and stop by to say hello to your IFD Firefighters. While you are there – please consider helping clothe next year’s children with your spare change.
Other ways to donate:
- Visit www.fillthebellifd.comto make a monetary donation.
- Donate in-person at the Firefighters Union Hall at the fill the bell engine location – 748 Massachusetts Ave
- Donate in-person at IFD Headquarters at the fill the bell engine location – 955 Ft. Wayne Ave
- Donate directly to the Fill-the Bell account at the Firefighters Credit Union – 726 Massachusetts Ave
- Donate in-person at Castleton Square Mall. Dec. 10-23 10 am – 8 pm daily – inside – in front of Macy’s
Credit: Rita L Reith, MPIO