Athens firefighters take families Christmas shopping

ATHENS, Ala. - Families in Limestone County will have a good Christmas thanks to some first responders.

Firefighters in Athens were taking parents and kids shopping to pick out gifts for the family.

Walmart in Athens was a little busier on Tuesday evening. Parents brought their kids on a special invite from Athens firefighters to fill the shopping cart.

"I was surprised when I got the letter and I thought, 'I have to go!' And I thank God for it that my kids got picked," parent Lawanda Dempsey said.

Over 60 families around Limestone County were chosen to go on a shopping spree with a firefighter. Each boy and girl gets $140 to buy clothes and toys.

"We've been able to do this solid for 21 years and make the kids smile, that's what it's all about," Athens Fire and Rescue battalion chief David Andrews said.

The money is raised from donations from Walmart and several corporate sponsors around Athens.

"It means the world. We wouldn't be able to do it without Walmart and the local industry here," Andrews said.

The parents have volunteers following along to help keep a tally and spend every dollar.  Once the carts are full, more volunteers are up front to ring up and fill the goodie bag.

"It's a struggle but that's why we have good people like the firefighters to come out and something for the kids, it's a blessing," parent Whittly Davis said.

"I thank all of you all because it means a lot," Dempsey said.

The firefighters are making sure no boy or girl is empty-handed on Christmas.

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