The City of Brazil is looking for assistance in aiding a couple of projects.
"We are setting up a Community Fund where area residents and businesses can donate money which may help us start up some outreach programs," Brazil Human Resources/Safety Employee Mary Staub said.
The first of the projects in the works is a contest to paint fire hydrants along National Avenue.
"It's something to get the kids of Brazil involved in beautifying the city," Staub said. "However, this contest will also be open to adults who want to show off their creativity as well."
There are approximately a dozen hydrants along National Avenue, and the contest will be split up into three categories: elementary-age, junior/high school-age and adults.
Brazil City Fire Chief Jim Smith said all of the hydrant may be painted except, in most cases, the top of the hydrant.
"The top of the hydrant lets us know the amount of water flow we can get," he said. "It is sort of like a stop light because if it is green it is good, yellow means okay, red means bad and black means it is non-functional. However, if the person painting it wants to incorporate the color of the top into their art and repaint it the same color to make it look better, we more than welcome that."
Staub said the city has received a small amount of donations from the community and that Sherwin-Williams has also expressed interest in helping out.
"With Sherwin-Williams donating paint, we would like to use fund donations to also give prizes, like movie tickets, to the winners as well," she said.
Those interested in painting a fire hydrant can pick up an application at the Mayor's Office starting Wednesday. Proposed designs need to be colored on the application and returned to the office by Aug. 15. Members of the Brazil City Fire Department will then judge the designs and winners will be announced on Aug. 22.
"We will work with the winners to set up a good time for them to paint their hydrant," Staub said. "Money donated to the Community Fund will help to purchase the paint, brushes and any other materials needed. We also like to hand out candy to the kids at Halloween and this fund will help us do that along with starting other community-based projects like this in the future."
The fire department is also looking for help with making sure kids who come to the department have an enjoyable time.
"With recent budget cuts, we had to drop our funding for fire hats, books and other trinkets we hand out to kids that come through the department," Smith said. "Since it is not something vital to run the department, it is always the first thing to get cut."
The funding for this program will come from outside donations as well, but is not a part of the Community Fund.
Smith said the department has worked with the National Fire Safety Council to receive additional funding, but the response was small.
"We have received a few items but not near enough for the approximately 900 kids that visit us each year," he said. "Most of the items cost $1 apiece, so it is not too expensive, but we just don't have enough funding for it. We enjoy doing this because we love having the kids in and seeing their smiling faces when they are wearing a fire hat and badge while having their picture taken with Sparky."
For more information about contributing to the Community Fund and the contest to paint the fire hydrants, contact the Mayor's Office at 443-2221, and for information about contributing to the Fire Department, call 448-1721.