MANHATTAN (PIX11) — Around 100 children of fallen FDNY firefighters went on a holiday shopping spree Sunday as part of a heartwarming, annual event.
This year, the children visited FAO Schwarz. The FDNY Uniformed Firefighters Association has sponsored the event for 41 years.
Mom Lisa Melia has been attending with her four children, Madison, Desiree, Chloe and Timothy Patrick Jr., ever since her husband, FDNY Firefighter Timothy, died in a car accident in 2015.
“It’s a club that no one wants to be in, but knowing what they do for us is so amazing. This event that they run is so giving and we as a family are so grateful,” she said.
FDNY Uniformed Firefighters Association President Andrew Ansbro explained why they run the event each year.
“We never forget and even though they may have lost one of their parents, we’ll never forget what they’ve done for the city and we keep them in our hearts and prayers,” Ansbro said.
Along with the shopping spree, the children also got an opportunity to meet Santa.
Mom Jennifer McNamara and her 15-year-old son Jack have attended for more than 10 years. Jack’s father John worked at Ground Zero for more than 500 days. He died of cancer in 2009. McNamara says the event means the world to her.
“It means family. It means everything. It means they haven’t forgotten us and that’s everything,” she said.
And for Jack and many of the other children, the event is about a lot more than toys.
“It gives us a sense of family. We kind of feel loved in this environment. At home we don’t have fathers, so having father figures here makes us feel more loved and at home,” he said.
The families say this is all about staying connected as an FDNY community.