BERLIN — Ocean City firefighters were busy this holiday season, providing toys and non-perishable food items to families in need this Christmas while also adopting 70 seniors at the Berlin Nursing Home.
In 2018, the Ocean City Fire Department (OCFD) started giving new blankets to residents at the Berlin Nursing Home at the request of resident Dolores Kenny, who was the Resident Council President. A total of 60 blankets were delivered. The blankets have to be replaced yearly due to the frequency and high temperatures they are washed in, which wears them down faster. The blanket drive was skipped in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“This year, we gave the blankets to the nursing home staff and they handed them to the residents as we waved to them from the windows,” said Ryan Whittington, OCFD public information. “We also had Santa with us and he waved to the residents on the upper floor from the bucket of the ladder truck. It was such a special occasion and we were so happy to be joined by other community members, police officers, and members of the Berlin Fire Company.”
Firefighters also hosted a Stuff the Fire Truck event at the Berlin Walmart, where toys and non-perishable food items were collected. As a result of the toy and food drive, Berlin and Ocean City firefighters adopted over 10 families.
“This holiday season, we were able to give back to those in our community who are in need,” Whittington said. “It makes our Christmas seeing the smiles on the faces of the young children who enjoy the magic of Christmas.”
Whittington gave credit to the community for stepping up to donate to the department’s GoFundMe account for blankets and delivered toys at Walmart and the fire stations. Firefighters are also planning to provide new warm coats to local children in the coming weeks. The fire department estimates helping nearly 140 individuals with its efforts.