Firefighters deliver toys donated through annual MAAC drive

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 December 2022 at 4:23 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Zach Fike from the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company heads to his truck with a Christmas box on this morning. He was among the firefighters who delivered toys to local families today through the area MAAC toy drive.

MEDINA – More than 100 families will have a Merry Christmas this year, thanks to the Medina Area Association of Churches annual Christmas giveaway.

This morning, dozens of local firefighters and volunteers gathered at the Grove United Methodist Church, where they enjoyed breakfast cooked by Bill Dunn and his church helpers.

After breakfast – scrambled eggs, a breakfast casserole, roasted potatoes, fried bologna, sausage, pancakes, fruit and juice – the firefighters loaded up ambulances and pickup trucks to begin their deliveries.

Sherry Tuohey, standing at right, watches as Barb Vreeland closes up boxes of Christmas gifts Saturday at the Grove United Methodist Church, waiting to be delivered by local firefighters.

While Medina firefighters deliver the empty red barrels to local businesses, schools and other locations, and then pick them up when they are full, Medina is joined by Medina, Ridgeway, Shelby and East Shelby in delivering the packed boxes to homes within the Medina zip code.

Lt. Steve Cooley with the Medina Fire Department said he has been volunteering for the MAAC Christmas program for 13 years. As he examined the boxes full of gifts he would be delivering, he said it will take him little more than half an hour and then he’ll come back for another load.

The boxes were filled with toys, games, puzzles, books, hats, scarves, mittens and socks, along with a ham and food for a complete Christmas dinner. Boxes for senior citizens contained a hand-crocheted blanket, donated by several local women.

Volunteers from the Grove United Methodist Church, who helped put on breakfast for firefighters are, seated from left, Sue Weese, Pat Watson and Bill Dunn. Standing are Darlene Boardway, John Boardway and Linda Blanc.

The Christmas give-away program actually started decades ago as a project of the Medina Fire Department.

Dave Green from East Shelby Fire Department said he remembers when the firefighters used to accumulate toys and paint bikes above the fire hall.

“That was more than 60 years ago, when I first joined East Shelby Fire Company,” Green said.

Mike Fuller, also from East Shelby, said he has helped since 50 years ago, when he first joined East Shelby.

Kristin McAdoo from Ridgeway Fire Company has been volunteering for 10 years with the toy delivery.

“I like helping families have a Merry Christmas,” she said.

Rachel Herbert came with her dad, a member of the Medina Fire Department, to help deliver Christmas boxes to more than 100 families.