A lunch at the fire station awaits anyone who donates $1,000 or more to the Santa Monica Firefighters Association’s Firefighters Relief Fund — one of only two yearly fundraisers.

The association, comprised of current and retired firefighters from the SMFD, puts out a program twice a year with advertisements from businesses and donations from citizens, though citizens can also place advertisements. The support received from the fundraiser will be used for health benefits for retired firefighters and to assist families of firefighters who have been injured or killed at work.

“We’ve had a company do our fundraising for the last 15 years,” said firefighter Ryan Demirdjian. “Things have changed now; those companies try to take a percent. Everyone’s having a tough time everywhere … we don’t want people to scrape up, then have it go to a big company … . We feel it’s more important that it’s not about how much we raise but that every dollar is accounted for.”

In addition to helping out retired firefighters when they can, as the fire department has no retirement pension plan, the association also uses donations to support organizations from little league to the burn institute.

The association offers various incentives for donation levels: $50 earns an association supporter sticker; $100 earns an association mug; $250 — $750 earns a care package. Starting at $1,000, supporters receive a wall plaque and a lunch at the station. A donation of $2,500 earns a desktop plaque in addition to the lunch, and $5,000 gets a wall plaque with an ax, a full page ad in the association’s safety program and lunch at the station.

Businesses can also buy tax-deductible advertisements in the firefighters’ bi-annual publication containing safety information and advertisements from local merchants and professionals.

To place an advertisement or to donate, call (310) 699-3338.

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