CITY OF RENO NEWS RELEASE – Reno firefighters are continuing an 81-year-old holiday tradition with the annual Sam Saibini Christmas Basket Program. In 1932, Firefighter Sam Saibini asked the fire captains to help him provide Christmas dinners for families in need. Back then, firefighters donated a dollar to pay for the baskets. Now donations are primarily from current and retired Reno firefighters and their families.
The goal for the Basket Program this year is to feed 150 families. Firefighters worked with a number of community-based organizations and agencies to select needy families for the food baskets. Off-duty and retired Reno firefighters will distribute the baskets to the selected families. Reno Firefighter Jana Maas, who organizes the event, says, “Being able to help families in need is what keeps the Sam Saibini Christmas Basket Program alive among the Reno firefighters.”
Reno firefighters hold an amazing event for 6 to 14-year-olds who primarily live in Reno’s downtown core. The event is by invitation only. Organizers work with the Washoe County School District, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada, Pathfinders Children’s Ministry and the Volunteers of America Family Shelter to obtain the list of needy children to provide a holiday celebration.
The day begins with the arrival of Santa Claus. During the party, the children are matched with mentors who chaperone their activities, including craft projects, games, a special selection of toys and clothing, and a warm delicious holiday meal provided by the Silver Legacy Resort and Casino.
“The Christmas season is always a busy and hectic time of year. Just seeing the smiles and excitement on the children’s faces makes it all worthwhile,” says Maas.
Firefighters need more toys and new and/or gently used clothing. Residents can drop off donations at any Reno Fire Station until Saturday, December 21, or at the City Hall Fire Administration Office, 1 East First Street, 4th floor until noon on Friday, December 20.
For more information, or if you are interested in volunteering, please contact Reno Direct, 334-INFO.