This holiday season the Riverside County Professional Firefighters Benevolent Fund, CALFIRE, and fire employees once again teamed up with The Department of Public Social Services, Children’s Services Division for the annual “Shop with a Firefighter” program.
Since 2000, The Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) and firefighters have worked with local businesses to sponsor a holiday shopping spree to children who may not otherwise be able to afford gifts at Christmas.
Each year, youth from local foster and group homes were picked up and transported to La Quinta and Menifee Target Stores, where the children were greeted by uniformed firefighters. Each child was then paired with a public safety professional before embarking on a $200 shopping spree sponsored by Target.
“The event is very rewarding and heartwarming for all who participate,” said Dr. Marie Brown-Mercadel, Director Children’s Services Division. “There is nothing like seeing the wonder and excitement in each child as they shop for themselves and the ones they love.”
Each youth received a $200.00 gift card of which $150.00 used to purchase clothing, school supplies or personal necessities. The remaining $50.00 went towards toys, personal interest or gifts for their family. Any remaining funds were returned to the benevolent fund.
“Just being able to partner with our fellow public safety representatives and other members of our community to bring these kids a little joy during the holiday season is a wonderful experience,” adds Matt Brandt, finance director of the Benevolent Fund. “We look forward to this event every year.”
This year’s event was held Saturday, December 10, 2016, 9:00a.m.-12:00p.m. at the Target Store at 30340 Haun Road, Menifee. And on Sunday, December 11, 2016 at the LaQuinta Target Store located at 78935 US Hwy 111