Firefighters raising money for MDA

Published: Saturday, September 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 31, 2007 at 11:50 p.m.

Some area firefighters will be out this weekend asking for donations in the annual "Fill the Boot" drive.

The program collects money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Money raised from the collections is used to provide service to Florida children and adults who have one of 43 neuromuscular diseases, which are covered by the association.

Alachua County Fire Rescue starts its fundraising drive today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and also will be collecting money on Sept. 15 and Sept. 29. Last year, the fire rescue agency raised almost $38,000, according to a news release from the MDA.

Members of the county's fire rescue agency will be at several locations throughout the county.

Regulations on panhandling in Gainesville prohibit anyone, even those soliciting for nonprofit organizations, from receiving money while standing on public roadways. One of the locations listed in a news release about this weekend's donation drive, at SE 24th Street and State Road 20, is within the city limits.

Chad Smith, co-chair of ACFR's donation drive, said the firefighters do not intend to challenge the city's restrictions and said he was unsure of the status of the collection at that location.

"I don't know exactly where the city/county line is out there," Smith said. "I just know that that's the same area we've been collecting in for years and we've never had an issue."

Gainesville Fire Rescue, which collected more than $16,500 last year, is scheduled to participate in the fundraising effort in early November, the MDA reported. Gainesville firefighters are expected to ask motorists to pull into parking lots to give donations in order to comply with the city restrictions.

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