Some jobs are year-round, and performing them becomes even more important on the holidays. Ellen Riger and the Wheaton-Kensington Chamber of Commerce are hoping to make sure police, fire fighters and rescue staff have a full Thanksgiving meal, even if they can't spend time with their families through the Holiday on Duty program.
"I feel very passionate about it," said Riger, who has organized Holiday on Duty for several years through the Chamber.
"They're working their tail off to keep us safe," she said, adding that has requested for additional officers to cover Westfield on Thanksgiving and days after this year.
The Holiday on Duty program is designed to guarantee that first responders on duty during holidays have a full, prepared meal when many restaurants are closed and fewer people on regular duty means a busy day.
Riger buys and organizes the transportation of the food to the and Station Number 5 in Kensington. While the locations to get food are centralized, the program invites the volunteer rescue squad as well as MCPD Officers from District 2 that are stationed in Kensington.
While Thanksgiving dinner this year is covered with the donations that Riger has received so far, she anticipates needing to raise another $1000 to $1200 to cover means for Christmas.
"Every singe cent goes into buying food for Thanksgiving, Christmas and this year, maybe New Year's", she said.
"It's a way for our entire community to say thank you to first responders."
If you are interested in donating to Holiday on Duty, make out a check to the Wheaton-Kensington Chamber of Commerce, with "Holiday on Duty" in the memo line. It can be dropped off or mailed to the Chamber's offices on 2401 Blueridge Drive.