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To ensure less-fortunate community members have gifts this holiday season, officials from the Santa Maria Fire Department and City Attorney’s Office on Monday wrapped dozens of gifts for four families.

Through the nonprofit Child Abuse Listening Mediation’s (CALM) “Adopt-a-Family” program, Santa Maria firefighters and other city employees bought and wrapped dozens of gifts for four Santa Maria families.

Sandra Fuhring, North County Development Manager with CALM, said the Adopt-a-Family program has been in operation for eight years. CALM staff members, who work with families and children that have suffered abuse and other hardships, identify families that won’t be able to provide gifts for their children this year, Fuhring said.

“It’s such a wonderful way for the families to feel really valued by our community,” she said. “A lot of these families have experienced some pretty heavy stuff and maybe aren’t used to receiving something that’s just so kind and generous. I think it’s just really nice for them to have the community wrap their arms around them, and really say that they care.”

CALM has arranged for 80 families in Santa Maria to be adopted this year and more than 250 families countywide, Fuhring said. 

On Monday, around 20 city officials spent their afternoon wrapping gifts of baby supplies, clothes, toys, shoes and other items.

Fire Chief Leonard Champion said it was the second year the fire department had participated and each of the department's three shift rotations adopted one family.

Mike Canales, of the Santa Maria Fire Department, said participating in the Adopt-A-Family program was just an extension of what firefighters already do.

‘I think for all of us it’s just an aspect of the job of wanting to help out the community, wanting to serve,” Canales said. “Going around the community you see where a lot of the needs are. It’s nice to be able to provide a little bit of joy to the families. It’s another part of 'protect and serve.'”

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Razi Syed covers Santa Maria City Government for Lee Central Coast Newspapers.  Follow him on Twitter @razisyed

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