The toy-donation bins for the Columbus Firemen’s Cheer Fund are looking a little bare, and local firefighters are seeking the community’s help to fill them up with gifts for children.

Columbus firefighter and Cheer Fund board member Ben Noblitt said the organization has hit the same snag it does each year after Thanksgiving. With the boxing up of toys for about 500 children completed, the used-toy shelves are almost empty, he said.

The organization has received its latest list of children eligible to receive Cheer Fund assistance this holiday, a stack of paperwork representing 300 to 400 more youngsters.

“We are in extremely desperate need for gently used toys for boys age 8 to 12 and girls age 7 to 12,” Noblitt said.

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Toys may be dropped of at any Columbus fire station. The toys are needed before Dec. 8 to make sure they can be distributed to a child in time for Christmas, with distribution scheduled for Dec. 16.

Any toys donated after Dec. 8 will be stored and placed in the distribution mix for Christmas 2018, Noblitt said.

Columbus firefighters have a trailer they use to transport toys from the fire stations to the United Way of Bartholomew County warehouse, 1531 13th St.

Monetary donations also may be dropped off at any fire station, but most people drop them off at the Fire Station 1 administrative offices, 11th and Jackson streets.

The firefighters are counting on a couple of events Saturday to help them with donations, Noblitt said.

During the 6 p.m. Festival of Lights Parade through downtown Columbus, firefighters will be handing out free hot chocolate in front of Luciana’s Mexican Restaurant and Cantina, 310 Washington St., located inside The Commons. That’s through a partnership with Frasier Chiropractic and Sports Clinic and the restaurant.

While the hot chocolate is free, firefighters hope people stopping by will make a donation to the Cheer Fund to help firefighters purchase more toys.

After the parade, Hoosier Pro Wrestling is planning an evening of bouts, Discretion and the 14th Annual Columbus Firemen’s Cheer Fund Toy Drive. Doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday for the event at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds, 750 W. 250S.

HPW Wrestling requests that everyone who attends the event bring new toys that will be donated to the Cheer Fund to help kids in need. Admission is $12, with children age 4 and younger admitted free.

Where to drop off toys

Toys for the Columbus Fireman’s Cheer Fund may be dropped off before Dec. 8 at any of the six fire stations in Columbus.

Station 1: 1101 Jackson St. Phone, 812-376-2671.

Station 2: 2376 Arnold St. Phone, 812-376-2672.

Station 3: 80 S. Gladstone Ave. Phone, 812-376-2673.

Station 4: 4730 E. 25th St. Phone, 812-376-2674.

Station 5: 100 Goeller Ct. Phone, 812-376-2675.

Station 6: 1900 W. 450 South. Phone, 812-376-2676.

On the Web

To learn more about the Columbus Firemen’s Cheer Fund, visit

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.