PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (WFLA) — As soon as the parade of fire department vehicles and fire truck rolled up to her mobile home, Jahaira Sanchez pulled out her phone to capture the moment.
“Very special,” Sanchez said. “[I] feel very lucky and blessed.”
Sanchez and her family were one of a few in Pinellas Park on Tuesday that received special help from the local fire department.
“They’re awesome for helping the community,” Sanchez said. “For the people that need assistance for this time of the holidays.”
The local 2193 union rang up the tab at Publix, buying Thanksgiving meals and all the fixings — from breakfast to dessert — for families in need.
“Some of these folks are folks that maybe we did run an EMS call on, or maybe even a car accident or maybe some type of medical emergency,” said Deputy Chief Rob Angell. “Now they’re getting to go back to their house, deliver a meal for the people that are in need.”
The grocery trip today cost around $1,100 — it’s paid for with the union’s benevolent fund and donations and fundraisers from the past year.
“To be able to give back, and that’s probably the most fun is being a firefighter and first responder,” said Angell. “Is giving back to our community.”
It wasn’t just firefighters and first responders filling their shopping baskets either — their families and kids joined in on the fun.
“You’ll see a lot of small children here,” Angell explained. “Toddlers, infants, all the way up to teenagers. So that’s what’s really neat, they get to bring their family and show the children and their family how to give back to the community.”
Fire cadets — high school students — also helped out. As is tradition, the fire department has been delivering Thanksgiving meals for 20 years.
“You got to have a little charity in your life to balance everything out,” said firefighter Jason Pickett.
If you’d like to apply, you can go to the Pinellas Park Fire Department Headquarters (11350 43rd St) to fill out an application.