Boots may be made for walking, but they can also gather cash for those with muscular dystrophy.

The Fill the Boot Campaign, hosted nation-wide by local fire departments, collects funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In 2015, more than 100,000 fire fighters participated in Fill the Boot events across the country and raised $25.5 million, of which $5,000 was collected by the McPherson Fire Department.

“It’s something we do every year,” said McPherson firefighter, emergency medical technician and event coordinator Zach Peterson. “The funds go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association location in Wichita and in turn, that money will benefit kids in the area who might need a wheelchair or scholarship to attend camp. Like the ‘ice bucket challenge,’ a portion of the money goes to find a cure. It should be a good turnout and a good amount of money as well.”

To step into fundraising efforts, firefighters will take to the streets, specifically at Main Street and Kansas Avenue, this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, as well as at Dillons and Wal-Mart to collect donations in their outstretched boots.

Saturday evening, residents can also donate to the campaign by attending the Back to School Bash from 7 to 10 p.m. at Hopp’s Sound, 214 E. Euclid St. in McPherson. The event will include sno cones, popcorn, a bounce house, dunk tank, Freddie’s frozen custard treats and the Bug Lady. A street dance will begin around 8 p.m., featuring Hell Creek Bridge and McPherson’s Chad Thompson. Proceeds from the freewill donations will go to the MDA Fill the Boot Campaign.

Since 1954, the International Association of Fire Fighters have collected funds for MDA in order to free individuals from the harm of muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle-debilitating diseases that take away physical strength, independence and life. The IAFF has raised more than $585.5 million to assist families and the search for a cure.

The MDA Fill the Boot campaign is an honored tradition in which thousands of dedicated fire fighters hit the streets or storefronts asking pedestrians, motorists, customers and other passersby to make a donation to MDA.

Fill the Boot donations benefit MDA’s shared mission to find research breakthroughs across diseases; care for kids and adults from day one; and empower families with services and support in hometowns across America.

Contact Cheyenne Derksen Schroeder by email at or follow her on Twitter at @DerksenSentinel.