The Phoenix Reporter and Item (http://www.phoenixvillenews.com)

Santa visits Friendship firehouse


By Virginia Lindak, For Journal Register News Service

Friday, December 14, 2012

On Saturday, Friendship Firehouse held it’s annual Breakfast with Santa Christmas party for children and grandchildren of firehouse members. This was the 15th year Friendship Firehouse has hosted this event. Families enjoyed breakfast with Santa and then each child was given a Christmas present.
Event organizer Ruth Harrington said the event has grown since they first started. “We used to have five kids, no we’re up to 20 kids,” she said.
Harrington’s niece Betsy Hilberg also helps to organize the event.
“For years we had it just for the children of members, now we opened up to the grandchildren as well,” said Hilberg.
Hilberg attributes the success of the event to the members of the firehouse.
“This club here is mainly all adults. The guys in here are great. That’s how we get all the money to buy all the presents and the food,” she said.
Members also contributed food for the Christmas party.
“Some of our members baked cookies and they brought in donuts,” said Hilberg.
Money for the presents is saved throughout the year from different fundraisers, drawings and raffles held by the firehouse. Local sponsors also contribute.
“We get our money through Redner’s tapes,” said Harrington. “We have fundraisers through the year and we have a drawing two or three times a year.”
Money is also gathered from donation boxes at the firehouse.
“We put boxes out around the bar for the kids Christmas party, and people can donate and put money in. Then we total it all up and go shopping. All the kids’ toys are over $20,” said Harrington.
Children also enjoyed face painting by Tia Rohrer, a daughter of a member. Rohrer, 17, used to attend the event as a child and enjoys coming back to help at the Christmas party.
“I’m happy to help, art is my passion,” said Rohrer. “It’s fun to give kids what they want because it makes them happy.”
Paul Kowal donated his time to be Santa Claus. He’s been Santa for 15 years at the firehouse. Kowal enjoys helping out for the children.
Kowal said, “It’s the whole season, it’s all for the kids. It’s good for the community, it’s good for everybody.”