A planned check presentation at a San Francisco fire station this afternoon by strippers who had raised money for a local toy drive was canceled after the city’s fire chief shot down the idea.
Firefighters now have to find a new location to receive the check, which represents money raised by a consortium of strip clubs in the city for the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program run by the local firefighters’ union.
The donation is made annually by a group of clubs that includes Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club, the Condor Club and Little Darlings, union officials said.
“They’re one of our consistent givers, and we thought it’s better for them to get a little publicity out of it,” said Sally Casazza, chairperson of the toy program.
The check, which in past years has been for upwards of $15,000, comes from a portion of the money made by the dancers during the holiday season, Casazza said. The group also donates toys that customers bring in exchange for free admission to the clubs.
The presentation was supposed to happen at 5 p.m. today at Fire Station 1, located at 676 Howard St. in the city’s South of Market neighborhood, but Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White told the firefighters they could not do it inside the station, department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.
Talmadge said the chief discouraged the event “just because of the nature of it … not that we don’t appreciate the check.”
Danny Gracia, vice president of San Francisco Fire Fighters Local 798, which organizes the annual toy drive, said firefighters were then going to hold the event on the street outside the firehouse, but Hayes-White also “made a fuss” about holding it there.
Gracia said the union is now looking at different locations for the event, and said it will likely end up happening somewhere in North Beach.
Gracia said he is disappointed that the source of the donation is causing a problem.
“What difference does it make?” he said. “It’s a legitimate business, and they’re one of our biggest donors.”
The firefighters’ toy program is the city’s largest, distributing 200,000-plus toys to more than 40,000 disadvantaged kids year-round, including about 40,000 toys during last year’s holiday season, according to the fire department.
For more information or to make a donation, call (415) 777-0440.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News