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FLORENCE, Ala. – It’s that time of the year when families are shopping for toys and gifts and at a great price. But sometimes those gifts are hard to come by. There’s no doubt that this year has been tough on so many families. More than ever before, this is the year of giving. 

Recognizing the great need of struggling families in the shoals during the holidays, the Florence Firefighters Union has stepped up this year by creating t-shirts, selling them, and donating the proceeds to a local non-profit.

“We have so many people in need in this area. Either they have lost their job or just fallen on hard times,” says Kimberly Wright, president of the William Porter Foundation in Florence.

Wright knows all too well about the struggle to make ends meet for some families in her community. The William Porter Foundation has been assisting families in need in Lauderdale, Colbert, and Franklin Counties since 2004.  

“But it has turned into so much more and it has grown from where we started. Now we help about 400 to 800 children every Christmas.”

The donation of toys from local stores, agencies, and the community has been a blessing. Each family comes into the First Baptist Church in Florence and shops free of charge. 

Local 270 Florence Firefighters Union decided to help out with a t-shirt fundraiser. In less than a week, 400 t-shirts have been sold. 

“We got a lot of schools with the fire department. We see some of these kids every day and some are in need and we are happy to help,” says Union rep Bentley Sharp.

“We live in a really giving community. A very helping community and they all come together to make sure that the need is met.” 

The t-shirts are available at all of the city fire stations or can be ordered online through the foundation’s Facebook page.