by Isabel Mosseler
West Nipissing’s fire fighters are officially 49ers. We’re not talking football – we’re talking 49 years of collecting funds and spreading good cheer through the Santa Fund.
Begun in 1970 by the Sturgeon Falls Fire Department, the Santa Fund food and toy drive has blossomed into a very special night of local talent and collective Christmas spirit: the annual WN Santa Fund Telethon, held this past Sunday, Nov. 24.
The event sees the whole community joining in the collective efforts of the West Nipissing Fire and Emergency Services, volunteer fire fighters and the Santa Fund organizing committee to make sure every family in need gets a food basket and gifts for the kids at Christmas time. There are entertainers of all ages taking the stage; volunteers manning telephones to accept donations; MCs who spend the entire evening coaxing area residents to open their hearts and wallets; high school students televising the proceedings; artists who put together the elaborate stage décor; fire fighters and spouses cutting fries, delivering poutine and mixing drinks to an overflowing hall of people. It’s more than neighbourly fun; it’s a bonfire of warm hearts that inaugurates the festive season and strives to bring everyone into the circle of a caring community.
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