By Dee DeQuattro, WPRO News
Community members in Coventry are hosting a fundraiser to help save Santa and his sleigh.
It is an annual event for Coventry residents when Santa borrows a town fire truck and makes rounds through the community to visit children but this year that may not happen because the Fire Department is in receivership.
For over twenty years, Central Coventry Fire Department has typically used one of their trucks for Santa’s special visit but this year because the fire department is struggling to pay its bill the idea has been nixed because the department can’t afford the $1,800 to gas the truck.
"It's been something that members of the department have done voluntarily because of the service to the community and because of the season," said Coventry Fire Captain Bill Hall. Hall has donned the red suit and played Santa for close to twenty years.
"When people heard that there may not be a Santa touring the neighborhood the phone was ringing link crazy. It's just a wonderful thing," said Hall.
Two of those people committed to keeping the tradition alive are Cheryl and Ray Robbio. On Dec. 15 the Robbio's are hosting a 5 Alarm Chili Cook-off from 1 to 5 p.m. to help raise the funds to keep the Santa on his firetruck. The fundraiser will be held at the Coventry’s Men’s Club on Hill Farm Road. It is $10 a ticket and children are free.
Anyone interested in making a donation or making chili for the event are asked to contact Ray at email@example.com or by phone at 401.249.0312.
"What we are hoping to do is raise way more than we need to provide the fuel for the truck and set up a fund that will carry us through future years," said Hall.
According to the IAFF Local 3372 website Santa's visit to Coventry is scheduled for dates between Dec. 19 and Dec. 23.