Due to the unusual climate brought on by COVID-19, the annual Give Burns the Boot Campaign traditionally held at intersections and storefronts just wasn’t a viable option for the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation (GFBF) this year. After all, the safety of those we serve, our partners, volunteers and staff is always a priority. So adjustments were made and new strategies were brainstormed which led to fire departments throughout the state hosting virtual boot drives in support of GFBF program service offerings.
Through October, Cherokee County Fire Department led the state on the online giving site giveburnstheboot.org. Elizabeth Elder, boot drive coordinator for the department, contributes a number of things to the success of their virtual boot drive:
Community Touch Points:
- We get a lot of money from our community when we do neighborhood smoke alarm battery changes, we inform the neighborhood organizer that we are raising money for the Boot Drive and what that money goes towards, like sending kids to a camp program for children impacted by burn injury & trauma and that this year 20% of the funds collected is designated for Fire Safety Education in the local community. As we go house to house, many of the residents will hand us a check or cash donations.
- We also have many individual smoke alarm appointments and residential home fire inspections. We will give them a Boot Drive information card and let them know about it and many of them will write a check or make a cash donation right there.
- We placed a Boot on our table for donations during our Touch a Truck Event.
Getting the Word Out:
- We posted the Boot Drive on the Cherokee Fire website with a running total of donations received.
- We also had it posted on the County’s website, followed with an email sent out to all county employees.
- It appeared on the Safe Kids Cherokee County FB page.
- We placed an article in two local newspapers about the Give Burns the Boot Campaign.
Elizabeth also says they’re still trying to put together a Cooking with a Firefighter Cookbook to help raise money as well. When the department exceeded their initial pre-set goal this October, they decided to increase their target goal and they’re still going strong with donations coming in daily! To make a donation through Cherokee County Fire Department’s virtual boot drive or for a listing of other fire departments, visit giveburnstheboot.org.