The Lake County Firefighters toy store is open and will have some special elfs on Friday helping families shop for toys. Students from the FIRST Robotics Team 1557 – 12 Volt Bolt club will be at the shop to help the families. The team is a Lake County high school robotics team that meets in downtown Eustis and consists of 35 students from all Lake County high schools. This team provides STEM education for students in our area as well as promotes community involvement. This year, the team helped collect toys for the Lake County Firefighters Charity Toy Drive and collected over 100 toys for this years’ Toy Drive. “This is a huge help” states Lt. Brian Gamble, President of the Lake County Firefighters Charity. “Our toy store was depleted last year after we helped a record number of over 160 families and close to 700 children.” Families from Lake County that need a little help to provide toys for Christmas were able to apply for assistance to the charity. “Not only did these kids collect over 100 toys, they are also coming out to help the families shop. This is a big help all around.”
The Lake County Firefighters Charity is a 501C3 non-profit organization that was started by the Professional Firefighters of Lake County. Gamble explains, “We have been hosting a toy store and toy drive for about the last 10 years. Every year the need has grown and grown. The reason we started our own toy drive is to ensure the toys stay here in Lake County. We are committed to helping our community first when it comes to giving back.”
Lake County Firefighters, Students from the FIRST Robotics Team 1557 – 12 Volt Bolt club, and other friends and family volunteers helped set up the toy store in Leesburg and will be helping families shop Friday and Saturday. Families can apply for assistance on the firefighters charity website and can shop by appointment scheduled. “Right now we have stopped taking applications, but are continuing a wait list” according to Gamble. “Our toy supply was very low as we had virtually no carry over from last year. We will continue to collect and as we build up toys, we will try to bring as many families on the waiting list as possible. We hate to see any child go through Christmas without toys”. The charity website is www.lakefirefightercharity.org
This year so far over 160 families from all across Lake County have already applied and are scheduled to shop free in the toy store as of Thursday. All Lake County Fire Stations are drop off points. Firefighters will be collecting toys through Christmas to try to assist as many families as possible.
As far as the robotics team kids, if you can’t normally find the kids at the team clubhouse you can usually find them out volunteering in the community! For more information on 12 Volt Bolt, visit their website at www.12voltbolt.com.