Carmel Fire Dept.’s annual Community Assistance Program is a holiday tradition that stretches more than five decades.
“This program was started by the firefighters and their wives back in 1967 to address a need during the holiday season,” CFD Lt. Jeremy Manners said. “There is no greater tradition in the fire service as there is in helping people in the community. Every one of us took that oath to help the people of this community, and that doesn’t stop with just emergencies. Tradition is one of the core values of the CFD, and helping people goes back to the beginning. Continuing this great holiday program for so many years is just a small way the firefighters and their families can give back to the community that has given so much to us.”
Manners said the program was blessed by the Clay Township Trustees office and Meijer over the last few years with monetary donations, but the biggest need is family sponsorship.
“The family sponsorship allows someone to sponsor a family of any number of children, usually decided by the sponsor, for the program,” Manners said. “That family would buy presents for the family they are sponsoring, and the food would then be provided by CFD and delivered with the presents.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has created economic hardship for many in Hamilton County.
“I would imagine the need is much larger this year than in years past,” Manners said. “We have not noticed it as much at our level as they have at the county, and we are fortunate for that, but there is always a need and there will always be. So many families move to Carmel to ensure that their children are safe and that they can get a good education, but they are barely scraping by. This program is here to help those in need feel a little piece of joy in this crazy time.”
Volunteer delivery drivers are needed. Manners said CFD is delivering to approximately 175 families, and he estimates 30 to 40 drivers are needed.
“We are always willing to take more drivers, though,” he said. “I assure you when you see the look on the families face when you drop food and gifts to them it will brighten your day.”
To become a volunteer delivery driver to help deliver food and gifts from CFD headquarters to families Dec. 12 should email CAP@carmel.in.gov. Those wanting to be a sponsor should register through the same email address by Dec. 1. Checks for tax-deductible donations should be made payable to CFD Auxiliary with CAP in the memo line. Mail to CFD, Attn. CAP, 2 Civic Square, Carmel, IN 46032.