By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Moore firefighters have been getting Christmas gifts ready so some Moore Public School students will have some nice gifts under the tree this year.
Santa Express is a program the fire department has done for over 30 years in Moore which partners with the schools, said Maj. Ronnie Rawson. Teachers and counselors at the schools furnish names of students and the department provides Christmas for them, Rawson said.
“We’re giving out tens of thousands of gifts,” he said. “We bag them up and give them to the parents or they come to the station and pick them up.”
This year they provided gifts for about 520 kids and around 230 families. The gifts aren’t labeled as coming from the fire department though, parents give the children the gifts themselves or label them “From Santa,” Rawson said.
The gifts are typically given to students age 15 and under, and sometimes 16-year-olds, depending on who teachers and counselors select to receive the gifts, he said. They also take into account those who have siblings attending school.
Donations and fundraisers are done year-round to be able to provide the gifts and they are already starting to plan for next year. Rawson said they will often hold golf tournaments or other events to help fund the project. Individuals are also encouraged to give monetary donations or take toys to either Moore fire stations or the City of Moore.
Several groups and organizations also help bag up the Christmas gifts and one of the football teams was helping Thursday, as it usually takes three to four days to get everything packaged and ready for delivery or pick-up, he said.
“Hopefully we’ll have them all in the houses by Saturday or Sunday,” Rawson said. “We actually started some deliveries (Thursday).”
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