It’s coming up fast; the annual Fill the Boot collection in Farmington, staged over the long Presidents’ Day holiday weekend.
The effort will take place starting on Friday, Feb. 13 and run through Monday, Feb. 16. Volunteers from the Farmington Fire Department will be collecting donations – anything from loose change to bills to checks – in their turnout boots to benefit the Firefighters Burn Institute, with the collection set up at the intersection of Highway 4 and Escalon-Bellota Road.
“We will start at noon all four days and go until sunset, between 5:30 and 6 p.m.,” said Farmington Fire Chief Conni Bailey. “Once it gets dark, I want the volunteers off the streets.”
The department is also starting the collection later in the day than normal this year, as their volunteer numbers have dwindled so there are fewer people to fill the shifts.
“We are so shorthanded, we don’t want to burn the guys out,” Bailey said of the four-day effort.
The location, however, remains the perfect spot, as travelers will likely be heading out for a weekend of fun in the snow. Farmington has traditionally collected substantial donations through the Fill the Boot effort.
“We always set the goal at about $20,000,” Bailey said, noting that would average out to about $5,000 collected daily. “Anything after that is gravy.”
Farmington’s Fill the Boot effort in cooperation with the Burn Institute began back in 1999 and over the years, the department has contributed roughly $500,000 through the annual collection.
Bailey said she hopes this year goes well, and added that while she is down to a dozen volunteers from a normal of 24 – with some injuries and some people moving out of the area – she also is pleased that fire board members have stepped up and will be helping out with the holiday weekend effort.
“It’s supposed to be sunny, they have snow in the mountains,” she said of predictions for the holiday.
And with gas prices much lower than they were last year at this time, that could also add to the steady stream of traffic they are hoping for along the Highway 4 corridor. Motorists are asked to contribute as they come to the four-way controlled stop at the intersection; once they give, firefighters provide them with a flyer to place on their windshield so they aren’t asked again if they come through the intersection multiple times.
Bailey said for the most part, motorists are generous and give what they can.
“Hopefully the weather helps out,” she added. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”