Despite pouring rain, Saturday morning’s deliveries of toys and other presents to families in need around Bartholomew County went off almost without a hitch.
Ben Noblitt, co-chairman of the Columbus Fireman’s Cheer Fund, explains that the volunteer drivers delivered to 1,227 children this year. He praised the community’s support for the oldest operating charity in Bartholomew County.
Noblitt said that each child on the Cheer Fund list received five new toys, two used toys, three stocking stuffers, books and a stuffed animal. They also delivered bags of fruit and candy, with excess bags being donated to Love Chapel.
He said that they were also able to give away about 130 new bicycles for all of the children that requested them. He said that this is only the second time the Cheer Fund has been able to provide all-new bicycles.
A few traditional details had to be put off because of the heavy rains including Santa’s ride in an antique open-air fire truck and the mayor delivering presents in Tillie, the department’s miniature fire truck. And volunteers taking returned items outside were completely soaked.
Noblitt said planning is already beginning for next year’s Cheer Fund Drive. The fire department is hoping to build a new Cheer Fund facility at the airport, but Noblitt said the charity has also been talking to United Way of Bartholomew County about extending their contract at the 13th Street facility. The Cheer Fund can continue to store toys at the United Way building until details are worked out..