By Susan Carroll
The Orion Township Firefighters Goodfellows will pull on their full fire gear to sell special editions of The Lake Orion Review from Dec. 1-3, with proceeds benefiting Orion families this holiday season.
The Goodfellows will hand out newspapers at Panera Bread on Baldwin Road (in the Baldwin Commons), Hollywood Market on Lapeer Road and CJ’s Sandbar in downtown Lake Orion.
New this year, the Goodfellows will be out the night of Dec. 1 at Sagebrush Cantina in downtown Lake Orion.
The Goodfellows, now in their 51st year, originated at Station 3 in Gingellville, and today includes all four Orion Township fire stations. Last year, the Goodfellows’ efforts helped 23 local families have a happier holiday season.
The organization raises money to help families put meals on the table at Christmas time. The Goodfellows also provide gifts and necessities, such as winter clothes and household staples, so the families can have a Merrier Christmas.
“We are trying to do more so we can take in more families,” said Brian Hearns, chapter president of the Orion Goodfellows. “Last year they stretched it thin, so now with the (Run with Fire) 5k we could have a surplus, even if we have more families.”
Orion Township Fire Department hosted the first Run with Fire 5k Run/Walk on Oct. 7. All proceeds went to benefit the Orion Township Firefighters Goodfellows.
With the aspiration to help more families, Hearns reached out to the Lake Orion schools. He emailed the school principals for more recommendations. The Goodfellows will be helping eight additional families that would have had a dismal holiday without their help.
Not only do they provide a Christmas dinner, they furnish the family a weeks-worth of staples, such as “milk, bread, butter – stuff like that,” said Hearns.
The process begins when someone nominates a family in need, or a family approaches the Goodfellows and asks for help with the holidays. The Lions Club and local churches provide The Goodfellows with names of families, too.
“Anyone can contact us if they know a family that needs our help. The person can remain anonymous, or, we can tell the family who provided us with their name,” Hearns said.
The firefighters then interview the families to find out what sort of items they need.
Traditionally, the Goodfellows have consisted of firefighters at station #3, but even those who have been gone from the station for 15 years still participate in Goodfellows, Hearns said.
This year, firefighters from all of the fire stations are pitching in to help out.
Shopping and wrapping is a group effort at Station #3, and Hearns said there are volunteers wrapping presents all over the station.
The male firefighters go off to Costco and purchase the food. The female firefighters, firefighters’ moms, wives, girlfriends, aunts – it’s open to anyone who wishes to help – shop for the gifts.
‘The Goodfellows motto is ‘No child should be without a Christmas,’” he said.
And on Christmas Eve, the firefighters show up on the families’ doorstep with baskets and gifts in hand and live up to that motto.
Anyone interested in helping the Goodfellows holiday efforts, or to nominate a family in need, may do so by visiting the Orion Township Fire Department’s Station 3, 3365 Gregory Road, or email Brian Hearns at firstname.lastname@example.org.