Athens families go shopping with firefighters

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ATHENS, Ala. – Families went on a Christmas shopping spree on Thursday evening with some first responders. Kids partnered up with Athens firefighters to find some Christmas presents.

Athens firefighters were making the rounds.

“We brought 56 kids out,” Athens Fire and Rescue battalion chief David Andrews said.

56 kids along with Mom or Dad took off with a cart and a firefighter as they wandered the aisles at Walmart.

“I really didn’t want anything, all I wanted to do was spend time with my family and my friends,” second-grader Makenleigh Crafts said.

They made a few new friends at this year’s Shop with a Firefighter.

“We just hope to make their Christmas season a little better by buying them some gifts,” Andrews said.

The event is paid for with a Walmart grant and corporate sponsors. Each child is given $150. Of that, they have to spend half on necessities. That could be clothes or groceries for themselves or their loved ones. The other half, they get to buy the fun stuff.

“It goes a lot farther than you think it does,” Andrews said.

“I got some necklaces, some clothes, some boots, some LOL dolls, and some slime,” Crafts said. She was shopping for her dad and her grandmother.

That made for a full goodie bag for the families once it was time to check out.

“These people we shop with, they have big hearts too. They want to buy stuff for their brothers and sisters, moms and dads,” Andrews said.

Much of the donations were provided by Steelcase. Shop with a Firefighter is now in its 22nd year in Athens.

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