By John Voelker

The Toy Program for the year 2000, successfully wrapped up operations on Friday, December 22nd. Again we had a banner year and again we took care of thousands of children in San Francisco and again the volunteers consumed thousands of calories thanks to our infamous, firehouse Christmas cooking program. Over the past eleven years, this part of the Toy Program has proven to be one of the department’s most popular events. Firehouses started calling us in September to pick a day and sign up to cook. The cooking dates for the months of November & December were filled with eager chefs from firehouses throughout the City. The calendar filled so fast that we had to turn away firehouses that had cooked numerous times over the years and considered themselves a lock for a cooking day. Sorry guys & gals but remember for next year it’s first come first serve- when the calendar is full its full!

We’d like to thank the following houses for adding pounds to our holiday scales:

  • Station 15
  • Airport
  • Station 32
  • Station 13
  • Station 2
  • Fireboat
  • Headquarters
  • Station 36
  • Station 43
  • Station 8
  • Asian Firefighters Association
  • Station 3
  • Station 17
  • Station 14
  • Station 5
  • Station 44
  • Station 42
  • Station 7
  • Station 38
  • Station 10
  • Station 29
  • Patty Coffey & Kensington
  • Station 11
  • Station 9 and finally ...
  • Station 1
And the nominees so far:

The Most Original: Station 2 & Bob Arzave- Brontosaurus Burgers (Also most reported cases of heartburn…)

The Most Confused Group: 102nd Probie Class “Where’s the beef?”

Best Effort at Comfort Food: Station 7- Fried Chicken and Gnashed Taters (They actually rented a restaurant deep fryer….)

Catch of the Day: Station 11- Filet of Sole (First house ever to serve fish- a big hit!)

Best Consistent Effort: SFFD Airport- BBQ Chicken and Ribs, a yearly treat.

Healthiest: Station 38- Potato leek soup, penne pasta salad, and chicken salad.

Best Overall Meal for Civilian Group: Patty Coffey and Kensington Electronics- Chicken Cacciatore

Worst Rendition of Christmas Carol: Station 32 (FERG!) turning “Let It Snow” into “Old Mac Donald”

The Most Thoroughly Confusing Meal: Station 43- Chili, Chili Rellenos, and Linguini & Clams

Spirit Award/Best Sax Player: Station 7 and Adam Wood (Did you guys REALLY need sheet music for Jingle Bells??)

Least Amount Cooked: Station 42- BBQ Chicken and Chili (I heard it was good!)

Most Amount Cooked, Plus the Greatest Leftovers: Station 17, Jambalaya

And to all the other firehouses I haven’t mentioned, thank you very much. This is the old-time spirit that I had hoped to build when I took over this program 11 years ago.

And last but not least the award for the loudest, HAPPIEST, most rambunctious bunch of firefighters to participate consistently these last eleven years goes to Station 1. When I took over the program in 1990, I realized that we had to get a meal out for our wonderful volunteers each day. The soup kitchen was making us look bad. I was assigned to Station 1 at the time, so I asked them if they would come down cook a lunch, Toy Program would pay, and we’d do an article for the Main Line challenging other houses to out-cook them. The idea took off, and the rest is history. Station 1 this year cooked on the last day of the season. They not only BBQed a great meal, but brought down a Latin Rock Band thanks to Frank Puccetti. And the whole crew seemed extremely HAPPY that day. A great time was had by all, and it was a perfect way to finish another successful season. So all you cooks out there start planning your meals for next year!

P.S. Just wanted to add a special note for Station 11 to congratulate them on their most creative aprons and kazoo playing.

Thank you all. It’s been great!


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