Big Bear Valley fire departments joined forces yesterday to take children within Big Bear Valley on a well-deserved shopping spree at Kmart. Santa and Mrs. Claus were also on hand to wish the youngsters a Merry Christmas during their shopping spree, in which each child was able to spend about $100 at Kmart, however they wished. Some of the local children bought presents for their siblings and parents; others went directly to the bicycle aisle, toys and video games. These school-aged kids were chosen by their teachers, recognizing them for being outstanding students in attitude and personal need. This year was a record in the fire departments’ program as 85 children were invited to participate! Funding was provided by anonymous donors and each local fire station association—including those from Big Bear Lake, Big Bear City, San Bernardino County’s Fawnskin and Baldwin Lake volunteer, and U.S. Forest Service fire departments–contributed sizable funds as well. Kmart was generous enough to provide an overall discount to assure each child was able to get what they wanted and needed. This event started in 1998 and has grown through the years, encouraging the children to do well in school so that they can shop with a firefighter.
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