The Harker Heights Fire Department, in conjunction with the Harker Heights Lions Club, offers assistance to needy families in the Heights community for Thanksgiving by providing them with Thanksgiving baskets.

The department is still taking applications, but Chief Paul Sims warns that the deadline to apply is Friday, Nov. 9.

Sims stressed, “This is a partnership with the Harker Heights Lions Club. They provide the funding from donations.”

Sims said the Lions Club also helps put the baskets together and club members are there to help hand them out.

According to Sims, baskets will include a turkey, stuffing, bread, vegetables, and a pie.

Sims said the criteria for qualifying for the assistance is that a family be struggling financially. He said this doesn’t necessarily mean the family is experiencing unemployment; it might mean that the family’s income is simply too low to be able to afford a proper Thanksgiving dinner.

Other criteria are that applicants must be a resident of the city of Harker Heights, have documents proving residency, and have a way to establish the number of members in the household. Applications and sign-up are available at the Harker Heights Fire Department.

Sims said that once the Lions Club has the donations collected, “We (the fire department) will help the Lions Club make the purchases of food ... We put the baskets together in a group effort, then when applicants start coming in at nine in the morning, we confirm who they are, and they drive through and collect their baskets.”

While this year’s numbers aren’t in yet, last year the fire department was able to help 65 families. Sims credits the community for this. “This is truly a giving community here,” he said.

“Our city’s motto is, ‘Providing public services that empower people to focus on what matters most: Their goals, hopes, and dreams.’ We’re doing just a little of that here,” the chief said.

Sims said, “This is a wonderful, benevolent thing we do.”

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