Act of Kindness

Georgetown Fire Department partners with Santa for Toys for Tots

Written by Kathy Witt


FiremansChili Cookoff 3Chili lovers will miss out on their bowl of spicy and meaty goodness this fall, but the Georgetown Fire Department, which has presented the Fireman’s Chili Cook-off for the past 17 years to benefit Toys for Tots, will still hold a fundraiser to benefit children at Christmas.

It will just look a little different this year. Steve Woodrum - State Farm is now accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys and/or monetary donations until November 15th to support the cause.

Chili or not, this fundraiser is more important than ever before.

“There has not been a time in the last 18 years where more families have a need in our community than right now,” said Steve. “Things are so upside-down for so many of our neighbors.”

Typically held as a kick-off to the annual Festival of the Horse – postponed from this year to Sept. 10 to 12 of 2021 – the Fireman’s Chili Cook-off is yet another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.FiremansChili Cookoff 1

“There’s just no way to social distance,” said Steve, noting the event typically brings 3,000 to 5,000 into a one- to two-block area of downtown Georgetown.

Still, Christmas is coming and toys are needed to place beneath the trees of families in need. And while the firemen may not be ladling up chili this year, their donation drive-thru will help Santa Claus achieve his goals, especially as more than 100 percent of every penny brought in goes directly to the Scott County Toys for Tots program. In many cases, the proceeds are also able to help those in surrounding counties.

“The goal of this fundraiser is to continue the mission that no child or family in our community doesn’t have a gift on Christmas,” said Steve. “While there are tons of other concerns today – rent, food, job stability – this one part can help people have a moment of happiness, take one worry off a mom’s or dad’s mind and give a local child a happy memory.”FiremansChili cookoff2019

The fundraiser receives donated support from the Georgetown News-Graphic, Georgetown/Scott County Tourism and the Georgetown City/County Fire Department, particularly Scott Markey, who is the local Toys for Tots liaison. Other community supporters include the Georgetown Police Department, Scott County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgetown Public Works and Sanitation folks.

“They are the unsung heroes of set-up and clean-up,” Steve said. “And they are awesome.”

Steve and his team at the Georgetown Fire Department donate all the supplies, time, coordination and planning.

“It’s truly a net positive donation of 110 percent,” he said. And it’s a fun way to feel invested in our community and neighbors, and the folks that are assisted appreciate it more than we know, so it’s a win-win.”

Georgetown takes the “Be Kind” movement seriously. Read how other community members are spreading kindness here.


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