Loudoun firefighters collected more than $60,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in cash alone, with more in change and online donations yet to be counted, during the first on-the-street “Fill the Boot” weekend in a decade.
Annually, firefighters across the country on Labor Day weekend collect donations streetside from drivers waiting at intersections for the annual fundraiser supporting research toward a cure and families living with muscular dystrophy.
Loudoun Career Firefighters Association IAFF Local 3756 President John Myer said firefighters in 2012 collected around $80,000, and in 2011 around $100,000. But Loudoun drivers hadn’t had a chance to drop a dollar in a firefighter’s boot since. The Board of Supervisors in 2013 banned all soliciting from occupants of motor vehicles over safety concerns.
Firefighters continued to collect donations online and through other means. But Loudoun Fire-Rescue System Chief Keith Johnson told supervisors Tuesday that in those years, they would collect donations in the range of $17,000 to $30,000, less than half their previous fundraising.
In July, the current county board voted to create an enforcement holiday on that ordinance for Labor Day weekend, authorizing panhandling for fundraising purposes. And in their first year back on the streets last weekend, Myer said, firefighters collected more than $60,000 in bills alone—plus a couple buckets of change, and with online donations still open.