Carol McCracken (Post # 2,517)
The Day Room of the Munjoy Hill Fire Station is where firefighters eat their meals, watch television and visit with each other during a normal work day. Early this morning the Day Room became the wrapping center of Christmas gifts for a family on the East End of Portland selected to be recipients of gifts under a new program that was the brainchild of Brandon Farley and Mark Tweedy his firefighting partner. They are stationed on Munjoy Hill.
“It was overwhelming. I was amazed,” said Farlay of the response to his request for donations to help an unidentified family have a brighter and Merry Christmas than otherwise. He raised about $1,500. from local businesses. $1,000. came in cash and about $500. in gift cards – all of it from businesses – most of them on the Hill.
Several months ago Farley and Tweedy met with the principal and a social worker at East End Community School on the Hill. They described the family they were looking for . Within 24 hours of that meeting, they had the name of a family that fit the criteria laid out at the meeting. Since then Farley has been in touch with the mother, getting sizes and other pertinent information for the gifts to be purchased for her three sons. The inspiration for the gift giving came from Tweedy’s mother who lives in Michigan where she is involved in a similar program. Tweedy said he wished that Portland would set up a similar program. The gifts will be delivered by Farlay early Christmas morning in the back of an ambulance.
Bill Simpson, owner of Hilltop Superette, across from the firehouse on North Street, said he donated cash to the Adopt a Family fund because “I was pleased to be asked to participate and pleased to help make it happen at Christmas.”
“We’be been wanting to help a local family and this seemed like the right fit, so we signed on,” said a happy Seth Vigue, brewer, for Bissell Brothers Brewery on Riverside Street.
“We certainly plan on repeating this idea next year. Maybe we will be able to support more than one family. We hope that it will become a city-wide initiative as well,” said Farley.