The ordinance prohibits solicitation of any kind on high traffic intersections around the city. Lt. John Brunett says "Well the ordinance was passed with safety in mind and we are going to uphold that ordinance and respect it." The firefighters have made other plans, even though they are anticipating that they will raise much less money because of the ordinance. "Not being able to work the streets like in the past is definitely going to be detrimental to our collection, so we are hoping to do the best we can. Unfortunately, the families that need it the most are the ones that are going to be affected by it" explains Brunett.
Lori Seymore, who is the area director for MDA, responded with the following statements as to how this city ordinance will impact the organization:
"In light of the newly enforced city ordinance prohibiting firefighters from collecting on the streets, as they have done nationally for the past 60 years, visibility is likely to be significantly diminished this year. That, in turn, will result in a substantial decrease in funds collected, which directly affects the services MDA can provide to the families here in The Big Country who are suffering from neuromuscular disease.”
“In the past, we would collect between $40,000 - $50,000 in a 3 day period. This year we are hoping to raise $10,000.”
“The caring community of Abilene has always been very supportive of MDA’s cause and the efforts put forth by the firefighters to help raise funds to benefit these families. I hope this year will prove to be no different! Although the locations are a little more spread out, it is still imperative that you take that extra few minutes to stop by and show your support. By your generous donations, you will truly continue to make a difference in many lives of those suffering from muscular dystrophy right here in The Big Country.”
Lt. Brunett, who has participated in Fill the Boot for the past eighteen years, says he is still counting on Abilenians to donate.
"I have faith in the Big Country residents. They have always come through for us, even through hard economic times, we have always met our needs and they have always stepped up for us."
The new locations for Fill the Boot are the United Supermarkets on Judge Ely, South 14th Street, and Buffalo Gap, as well as the Highway 351 Wal-Mart. You can donate on May 15th-17th from 10am to 6pm. They accept cash at all locations and will accept debit and credit cards at the South 14th United location.