The Central Coventry Fire District says they have no choice but to take a step back from spearheading holiday drives because this season, many of them are on the ones in need.
"Deciding to help yourself over helping others is a tough decision," Union President Dave Gorman said. "Especially being a firefighter, you always want to help the others."
It is a decision Gorman said they had to make because many of his members have been working without knowing when their next paycheck will come. The district is bankrupt so they are cutting back on their charitable donations this holiday season.
"I have many members, more than I can count on each hand, that are needy themselves right now this year," Gorman said.
Instead of donating 70 turkeys to the food back like they normally do each Thanksgiving, the union is donating them to its own members. They are also pulling back from heading up the 'Tis the Season boot drive, and not asking firefighters to volunteer.
"We're worn out. We're burnt out," Gorman said. "And this is just another thing we weren't able to participate in 110%."
Taxpayers say they understand not being able to give a monetary donation, but they still think the firefighters should donate their time.
"They don't have time to be out there for 2 hours? 3 hours?" Richard Bergeron asked. "I find that puzzling."
Bergeron and his wife are taking matters into their own hands. They plan on putting a boot out at their neighborhood craft fair to collect for the charity themselves.
"We'll see if we can make up the slack that the firefighters left by not donating their time as they've done in the past," Bergeron said.
Union President Gorman says at this point, all he can do is hope the New Year brings a new future to the first district of Central Coventry.
"We'll still be there for the community in case of an emergency," Gorman said. "But right now, we need to take care of ourselves."