INDIANAPOLIS — As we inch closer and closer to Christmas–a time where we often tend to get caught up in gifts and shopping–it can be important to remember that it’s truly better to give than to receive.

One area group putting the reason back into the season, the Indianapolis Black Firefighters Association, is celebrating Christmas in a big way: by giving back to those who need it the most. 

For the 29th time the IBFA is celebrating Christmas at the Firehouse and this year’s event is bigger than ever, serving more than 50 families and some 250 children. The event is stretched between two days, Friday Dec. 16 and Saturday Dec. 17., when members and volunteers will load a firetruck Friday afternoon and complete the rounds with Santa and preassembled gift baskets to families in need. 

The event continues Saturday where preselected families will stop by the fire barn along E. 46th St. to get their gifts directly.

The Indianapolis Fire Department identifies those most in need throughout the year while on calls and sends their recommendations to Indianapolis Black Firefighters Association Vice President Trasey Graham, who adds the families to her real-life list. 

“I’m kinda like Santa Claus, I sure hope so at least! If not, I’m definitely an elf,” Graham said. “We just hope that this makes someone’s day a little bit brighter and takes a little worry off of what they might be going through and what they have been going through.”

Families will be given a basket of food, complete with turkey and all the fixings. Children will receive gifts as well.

“My team has filled up 39 large trash bags with toys and so we try to help families that have lost everything in a fire,” Graham said. “We’ve teamed up this year with Walmart and we’re able to do so much because of all the donations we get from them and plenty of generous folks throughout the city of Indianapolis.”

Graham takes the donations a step further, making note of the children’s ages and finding perfect clothing sizes and something extra special that may be on their Christmas list.

“My team knows that these kiddos might not get everything that they want, but their favorite toys… if it’s Blue’s Clues, if its Cocomelon, if it’s, you know, if it’s LOL Dolls… you have to give something that’s their favorite and fill it with all the surrounding things for the rest of the family,” Graham said. “Our motto is, all we are, we owe, and we want to make sure we’re doing that because what we are, we didn’t get it just… we’re blessed, and we want to make sure we’re giving that blessing back to others.”

Indianapolis Black Firefighters Association President Corey Floyd echoed that sentiment. 

“We just want them to have something. We want them to have something to talk about and they don’t have to attribute those things coming from the IBFA as an organization but that’s what we try to do. We want to spread as much love as possible,” Floyd said. “We want our community to be educated in all areas of safety, and as firefighters we want to be there for you at your worst moment but it’s also nice to see a smile on people’s face during what could be some of the worst times of their lives, you know? You never know what someone’s going through until you step up and ask and try to fulfill that need.”

To clarify, this event is not a free for all. Those receiving gifts from the Indianapolis Black Firefighters Association have been preselected primarily by firefighter referrals but also by referrals made by other members of the community, the trustee’s office, and social workers throughout the area double-check that list to make sure those being helped are genuinely in need this holiday season.

If you have donations that you’d like to give, canned goods and volunteer hours are always appreciated. Text Trasey Graham at 317.640.8412 or visit their website