|VEHICLE DONATION PROGRAM|
Through the Vehicle Donation Program, Los Angeles County Fire employees, along with the general public, are able to participate in a worthwhile cause that will help hundreds and hopefully thousands of kids get excited about reading. Teaming up with the National Charity Support Foundation, a fellow non-profit organization headed up by Paul Besterveld, Casillas was able to use their assistance as a handler of the funds that are given in full to the program. The Los Angeles County Fire Department never handles any of the donated vehicles, nor are they stored on any County Fire property. All vehicles are handled by the N.C.S.F. The donor is simply naming LACoFD as their charity of choice.
When asked why he decided to choose this type of charity Casillas said, “I realized the literacy rate for Los Angeles County is extremely low and that something needed to be done to help. And since the Fire Department has always been committed to public education, it just seemed like a great opportunity.” The idea, although basic, is ingenious in the fact that not only does the donor benefit from the donation with a generous tax deduction, but children will receive books at no cost to them. One of the key points Casillas makes for the Vehicle Donation Program is that it goes hand in hand with the literacy project. It is a way to get the community motivated to participate and actively help boost the current literacy rate. The program provides a way for citizens to help children by simply collecting unused vehicles and turning them into book fairs. Book fairs will be an opportunity for County firefighters to gather about 200 books and read to 200 kids.
The program is already underway and people have already begun to donate their vehicles, raising thousands of dollars to date. Casillas has worked hard to gain administrative and corporate partnership for this project and is to be commended for his leadership and vision.
(Left to Right) Captain Steve Martin (now Battalion Chief Martin) and Firefighter Specialist Chris Casillias (now Captain Casillas) at the site of one of the first vehicles donated to the program.