FAIRFIELD COUNTY, S.C. — A national organization dedicated to first responders played Santa to families of Fairfield County first responders on Wednesday.
The First Responders Children's Foundation's Toy Express delivers more than 250,000 free holiday toys to the children of first responders nationwide every year.
On Wednesday, the organization spread holiday cheer to the families of Fairfield County first responders through gifts to more than 100 children.
This is the second year Fairfield County first responders have participated in the Toy Express in partnership with First Responders Children's Foundation.
“They’re not video games. They’re toys they can engage with their siblings, their families, which has been such a big thing during COVID," said wife of Fairfield County EMS Lieutenant Erin Smith. "Kids are having to relearn how to interact with each other, how to play as a family, so the toys that we’ve gotten are really gonna help facilitate that."
First responders say this recognition is appreciated, especially amid national staffing shortages during the pandemic.
“Crews are working harder, working longer," said Fairfield County EMS Deputy Director Daniel Sloan. "They’re just non stop with no break, so to get this recognition and have a happy moment after so much bad is great to have."
As EMS crews continue to work through the holidays, event organizers say they want them to know their hard work doesn't go unnoticed.
“These first responders don’t have that luxury," Smith said. "But they’re here every day sacrificing for the community, for us and this is just a small thing that we can do to support our first responders."
The Toy Express was made possible through community partnerships with Pruitt Health Hospice, Creel Family Law, and Performance Insurance Agency.