For the past five years, the Oak Forest Fire Department and its union has raised almost $7,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association through its Fill the Boot campaign.
This year, the department hopes to earn $3,500 for the organization. That's why firefighters were out volunteering Friday afternoon at two city intersections. Don't worry if you missed them, because they'll be volunteering again from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at 159th Street and Central Avenue and 167th Street and Cicero Avenue.
The money raised through the Fill the Boot drive (it's called that because firefighters use boots to collect donations from motorists) stays in the communities where its collected, said Jacki Klutcharch, the fundraising director for the MDA's Chicago South District.
Funds collected in Oak Forest will go to more than 400 families in southern Cook and Will counties. Donations help send kids to MDA summer camps, pay for clinic visits and funding life-saving research, Klutcharch said.
This is Oak Forest firefighter Ross Laird's first year as the organizer for the local effort. Last year, Laird was only a volunteer, canvassing city intersections for donations from stopped drivers.
On Saturday, there will be about seven to eight firefighters volunteering between the two locations, Laird said.
Want to give to Oak Forest's Fill the Boot campaign but won't be around Saturday? Residents can contact the MDA office at 708-364-0419 for details on how to support the local drive.
Fill the Boot Campaign
When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21
Where: 159th Street and Central Avenue, and 167th Street and Cicero Avenue