Muslim Girl Scouts bring Christmas breakfast to Naperville firefighters
Naperville firefighter Kevin Caroll has worked about a dozen Christmas shifts in his 28-year career, but Friday was the first time there was a special gift delivered to him at the fire station.
Girl Scouts and their families from the Islamic Center of Naperville played Santa on Christmas morning delivering baskets full of Panera bagels, coffee cake, fruit and eggs to all 10 fire stations in town.
"This is a first. It's very nice," Caroll said.
After delivering treats the girls also chatted with the firefighters about their jobs and climbed in the fire trucks to explore.
"It is very much appreciated," said firefighter Tom Kriss. "It's not home, but it's kind of like spending Christmas with your second family."
The morning was about more than breakfast. Group leaders hope to counteract negative opinions about their faith.
"With what is going on in the world today, we have to be the ambassadors for peace," said program director Saima Hasan. "We have to flood the hearts of our fellow Americans with love and kindness and show them what being Muslim is really about."
Parents said providing breakfast is a way to say thank you to the first responders in the community but also teach their children an important lesson about giving back.
"We want to show them that we are a part of the community and that we appreciate all the hard work they do," said Sadia Kazmi of Aurora, who helped her daughter deliver breakfast. "And we want to share in the holiday spirit with them, too."
The troop -- 78 girls from kindergarten through eighth grade -- also planted red, white and blue flowers near the Naperville fire and police department earlier this year.
"This is how we can contribute," Hasan said. "We want them to know that the Muslim community stands shoulder to shoulder with them and that we are thankful for all they do."
The girls didn't mind getting up early, some of them wearing Santa hats with their Girl Scout vests, to bring breakfast to the different fire stations in Naperville. The breakfast was paid for with funds from a candy sale earlier this fall.
"It's a nice thing to do for the firefighters," said Barakah Mulla, 10.
"They save lives," agreed her sister Yusra Mulla, 8.