SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A group of dancers from a number of San Francisco strip clubs presented a check for $20,000 to a local firefighters’ union Wednesday evening for its annual toy drive.

The dancers are from a coalition of 11 strip clubs, including Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club, the Condor Club and Little Darlings, that raises money annually for the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program. Strippers donate 15 minutes of dancing each night on a voluntary basis to collect money for toys.

This year’s donation made headlines Wednesday because the check presentation, which was scheduled to take place at Fire Station 1 on Howard Street, had to be moved because Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White objected to holding the event at the station.

Instead, the strippers presented the check at a warehouse on Jerrold Avenue owned by the Academy of Art University where the donated toys are being stored this year.

“Thank you for everything you girls do, we really appreciate it,” said Sally Casazza, chair of the toy program.

Alluding to the controversy, Cassaza asked stripper “Oriana” if the toy drive isn’t simply about children, after all.

“It’s definitely about the kids, nothing more,” Oriana said.

As the dancers posed for photos with the oversized check, a handful of male firefighters looked on.

“God bless ‘em,” one said.

After the media frenzy, Oriana, 22, became emotional as she wandered quietly through the aisles at the warehouse, looking at shelves piled high with coloring books, puzzles, games and other toys.

“I think this is great,” she said, wiping away tears. “I remember one Christmas we didn’t have a lot … this is going to be special for a lot of kids.”

The strip clubs have presented their check for the toy drive at the fire station at least one year in the past, and it wasn’t clear Wednesday why the plan was nixed this year.

Fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said the chief discouraged the event “just because of the nature of it … not that we don’t appreciate the check.”

The firefighters are still collecting new, unwrapped toys, and donations can be dropped off at any fire station. There is a particular need for items for girls 11 and older, and for infants, one toy drive worker said.

Monetary donations are also being sought. Those seeking more information on the program or how to donate can call (415) 777-0440.

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.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (16)
  1. whiskey in a Jar says:

    Get over yourselves! You’re not that clean just because you make a fuss over this! Looking down your nose despite the end result is shallow on YOUR part! Adults are going to make their own decisions and parents are responsible for guiding their kids!

  2. Ann Mason says:

    I’m sure there are intricacies to this story which haven’t been explained. However, the check came from a group of businesses which have operating licenses. We can have questions about the way women are treated by these types of businesses, but I think the fire chief was wrong in this case. Neither the kids nor their parents are expected to visit strip clubs to receive the toys, so is it that serious?

    1. Darwin says:

      The fire chief, who has been chief for quite a while now, suddenly does not think this is appropriate? Is this the first year the clubs have donated? From the statement in the story it does not appear this is the first year. Could it be that Chief White just upset because she looks like a man? Sorry Chief, I’m ugly too. Get over it.

  3. joe says:

    Strippers are people too. They didn’t hurt anyone. What the F%^^’s wrong with the fire Dept.

  4. I’d rather take donations from strippers than, say, politicians.

  5. JaneQPublic says:

    This oes seem rather unfair. If you can’t accept the check at a FIRE STATION, perhaps you shouldn’t be accepting it AT ALL! I’m guessing a number of the women who helped raise the money for kids toys probably have children of their own.

  6. Torch says:

    Would it make the chief happy if it were male strippers giving her the check? What an f’n tool! This is what she worries about all day long? She needs to be replaced. She seems to have a lot of control issues. She wont even take her husbands last name.

    1. JQP says:

      Best back off from THAT losing argument. Not taking a husband’s name is nothing new. Maybe more men need to take the WIFE’S name.

      And it would be downright silly to replace a fire chief – of any gender – over this ‘tempest in a teapot’.

      1. DaPoPoMan says:

        She was made chief by Gavin Newsom. Right after he became mayor Newsom made her chief and made Heather Fong the police chief. They were solely political appointments whose purpose was to garner votes, not necessarily because they were the best for the job. Fong was a joke. White seems to have done better but you never really hear much about the fire department’s leaders and everyone loves the fire department. On this one, though, Chief White really stepped on her crank.

  7. tom says:

    why don’t the club owners donate some of that money?

    the girls have to do everything?

  8. Margie Brewer says:

    I think that fire chier in the least owes these beautiful people an appology. Who cares if they are strippers? The fact she would not allow them in the fire house is so damn wrong. What is her problem? Who cares where they are employed? They weren’t going naked. She has a self esteem problem. I don’t care it they are prostitutes, Show them some damn respect.. A gift no matter where it comes from is just that a gift. Shame on you Chief.

  9. George says:

    SFPD Chief..? The San Francisco Police Department wasn’t involved. Get the story right – it was the SFFD Chief, San Francisco Fire Department. She’s probably one of those who pickets those Hooters establishments. Suddenly it’s against her principles – why..? Because those strippers are cute young women and the SFFD (not the SFPD..!) Chief is probanbly menopausing..!

  10. maris says:

    We all have a job to do in this life, bless these women for doing their part in helping out the children in this community. The treatment given by the SFFDchief to these wonderful people only showed the kind of person she is. She needs to apologize immediately and think that her job is to serve the community and all those who live in it including these women. Hats off to these ladies who in spite of the poor judgement on the chief’s part still went on to donate their hard earned money, I would not have given it to the FD, or better yet, I would have said to them if you want this money, come and get it and get a lap dance while you’re here to add to the donation pot. Get over yourself chief and do the right thing…apologize!

  11. David L. Anders,Sr says:

    I am guessing the SFFD Chief is a major prude! This is about folks, some who are single parents donating money to a very worthy cause. The fact about how they make a living should not matter. Just one more case of people looking down their noses at people who are different!!!!!!! I thought San Franciscans were enlightened, I would expect that kind of response in the bible belt, not in a city like San Franciso.

  12. Roberta13 says:

    This woman does not know why these women got into these jobs, what a b***** maybe if she would take a minute to talk to them she would realize they have had hard lives and they sacrificed to give these kids this much money

  13. Karla Kirchner says:

    No, CHIEF, you’re not an arrogant fool! NOT!!!!! Last I heard, stripping in a LEGAL club is NOT ILLEGAL! How dare you treat our generous citizens that way AND still have the nerve to accept their hard earned money! SHAME ON YOU, SAN FRANCISCO FIRE CHIEF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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