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To the Rescue in Alexandria
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To the Rescue in Alexandria

Firefighters and Friends hold West End toy drive, distribute toys to children in need

Attendees browse a selection of stuffed animals during the Firefighters and Friends toy distributions day Dec. 19 at My Father’s House Christian Church International.

Attendees browse a selection of stuffed animals during the Firefighters and Friends toy distributions day Dec. 19 at My Father’s House Christian Church International. Photo by Janet Barnett/Gazette Packet

Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue continued its annual toy drive with a scaled-down distribution day Dec. 19 at My Father’s House Christian Church International.

More than 500 toys and gift cards were distributed to children and families in need, primarily in the West End of the city.

“Though we are in a pandemic, our sponsors were not going to let that prevent them from supporting the event this year,” said former City Councilman Willie Bailey, who began the toy drive more than 20 years ago. “We received several calls from our sponsors hoping that we would find a way to pull off the distribution. Because of those calls we decided to put on the event this year. We had procedures in place to be safe, but the children were still able to receive their holiday gifts.”

Sponsors for the toys and gift cards include: Alexandria Redevelopment Housing Authority; Department Progressive Club; Alpha Corporation; My Father’s House Christian Church International; and Firefighters and Friends to the Rescue.

“I have been asked for so many years why I do this,” Bailey said. “All I can say is that I learned to give not because I had much but because I know exactly how it feels to have nothing. This year especially, it is teamwork that makes the dream work.”