WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Members of the West Springfield Fire Department slept outside in tents this week, as part of their “Homeless for the Holidays” fundraiser.
West Springfield firefighters learned what it was like to be homeless, while at the same time raising money for the Parish Cupboard in West Springfield.
They camped out in tents at Mittineague Park for three nights and had fire barrels to keep warm in the freezing temperatures.
Deputy Fire Chief Bob Manchino of the West Springfield Fire Department said that the cold temperatures made life incredibly difficult.
“We had one person in his own individual tent, went to have a sip of water and his water bottle was frozen solid,” said Deputy Fire Chief Manchino.
Lieutenant Thomas Kane of the West Springfield Fire Department added that the cold had him up for most of the night.
Lt. Kane told 22News, “I didn’t get much sleep but I’m a light sleeper I went to bed last and I was one of the first guys up, you know to keep warm.”
The “Homeless for the Holidays” fundraiser idea started in Massachusetts 17 years ago as a way to raise awareness of the homeless in the community.
The West Springfield Fire Department said the homeless in town will always have their support.
Lt. Thomas Kane told 22News, that he and the West Springfield Fire Department wanted to help the less fortunate members of the community with “Homeless for the Holidays”.
“I’m from West Springfield and I just know there are a lot of people in the community and there are a lot of homeless, its important to look after where you’re from and the people in the community,” said Lt. Kane. “That’s the great thing about our fire department we always look after the people in this town.”
The Department collected groceries, warm clothing, unwrapped toys, and money, all of which will be donated to the Parish Cupboard who works with those in need.
They filled a truck with the donations and dropped them off at the Parish Cupboard Saturday afternoon.