The Forgotten Child Fund benefit kicked off on Tuesday at Track 29 as WUSY US-101 with Chattanooga firemen, police and EMS began the annual drive to raise money.
The headliner Florida Georgia Line with opening band Zach Dylan & The D-Railed Band provided acoustic sets to a thrilled full house. In addition to the concert, Ms. Ashley (Weimer) Croft, Promotions Director Clear Channel Media (includes station US-101) presented items for the silent auction. The proceeds raised at the event provided to The Forgotten Fund this year’s Director Clay Ingle.
If you are interested in donation to the Forgotten Child Fund, you can go on line to www.forgottenchildfund.org , or you can go to any Chattanooga Fire Department station, Hamilton County EMS station, or Dollar General Store and drop off a new, unwrapped toy in one of our collection boxes. Another way is you can contact the Forgotten Child Fund at 423 697-0031, and make arraignments for a donation box to be placed in your business, club or church.
The Birth and History of The Forgotten Child Fund
In 1965 two Chattanooga Police Officers responded to a call where a couple of children were at home, and no Christmas presents were at the house. At that time, they went out and collected some money from other police officers, and purchased a few gifts, so there would be something under the tree for them. From that small act of kindness, the Forgotten Child Fund was born. During the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, the Chattanooga Police Department, along with The Chattanooga School Patrol, and the Chattanooga Fire Department grew to providing not just toys for children in need, but they started providing a very special Christmas for the 10 neediest families in the area.
During the 90’s, the Forgotten Child Fund grew so big, that we are now supported by many first responding agencies. The list now includes the Chattanooga Fire and Police Departments, Hamilton County Emergency Services, Hamilton County Special Tactics and Rescue Service, and Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department.
Officials said, "It is our goal to provide each child in the family with 6 toys on average, that way; they will know they were not forgotten! During the 90’s the children served grew to over 4,000 children. Now with the economy dropping as it has, we provided Christmas for over 6,000 children in 2010, to 7,452 children in 2012. Our hopes are to provide Christmas for over 8,000 in 2013 if there is a need. We work hard to get the word out to people that if you need help, we will provide. We do check all of our applicants by running them through the United Way of Chattanooga’s clearing house, which the Salvation Army, and Toys for Tots use also, that way they cannot double dip
"We still do the 10 neediest families. The families selected are checked out with two interviews, and then they get a third surprise interview, just to make sure they are truly in need. The 10 families chosen are then given the best Christmas they will ever have. Where we provide six toys per child, the ten families get a lot of toys, plus each child will get a bicycle with helmet. This will make them feel special for at least once in their life! And they know people do care. This is where the Santa Train comes into play. We start at 5:30 p.m., and go to each house with Fire Trucks, Police Cars, and Rescue Trucks, lights flashing, sirens blowing, and of course we have a limo with Santa Clause. There each child will see Santa and (most of all) all the emergency workers showing that someone really does care and that they are not 'Forgotten!'