Local firefighters standing on street corners around Tehachapi holding Make-A-Wish signs are hoping to help raise funds for children who have a critical illness.
“You can’t ask for anything better than to give back to the community. Doing this is a natural transition in helping people. Without my guys it wouldn’t happen. Their turnout and willingness to be helpful is great,” said Kern County Fire Department Battalion Chief Kevin Ostrinski.
The community is invited to donate toward a child’s wish on the corners of Tucker Road and Valley Boulevard, at Walmart, at the local Starbucks, and at Albertsons, along with other places in the city. Donations will be collected until 1 p.m. Wednesday.
More than 30 firefighters from around the greater Tehachapi area hope the funds will grant children wishes that may include a vacation, a car or room make over, celebrity meet and greet and other appropriate wishes, said Ken Wiggins, retired battalion chief and fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“These kids are all facing life-threatening diseases and it makes a difference not just for the children, but for the parents. It energizes the kids to continue fighting their fight and the parents see the happiness,” said Wiggins.
The amount raised each year varies depending on the day, season and economic situation, but the organization hopes to raise around $10,000 to $14,000 in Tehachapi, said Catherine Anspach, senior community manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Central California.
The average cost of a wish is $7,500. The Kern County community as a whole granted 58 wishes last year alone, said Anspach.
“The wish is now considered part of a medical treatment. Doctors are referring this type of treatment because it gives the children a lot of hope and something to look forward to,” added Anspach.