In the Foster family, giving back seems to be a hereditary trait.

That’s why it’s no surprise Kevin Foster started a holiday toy drive in Cumberland when he was just 16 years old.

Firefighters for Kids started taking applications from needy families this week for its eighth annual collection.

Foster, now 24, doesn’t quite recall how he came to be in charge.

“Just lucky, I guess,” he said.

The toy drive started as an idea floating around the Cumberland Fire Department, where Foster and several of his family members volunteer.

He’s quick to give credit to his wife, parents, brother and sister-in-law for keeping the program going.

Firefighters for Kids started out collecting toys and giving them to Toys for Tots. Every year it got bigger, and eventually it took over the task of connecting the toys with local children.

“It’s really turned into its own program,” Foster said.

This year, Firefighters for Kids is accepting applications through Dec. 23. The paperwork enables the program to match children with toys they would like.

“We don’t turn anybody down,” Foster said.

In its first year, the program collected 750 toys. Foster doesn’t even know how many they handed out last year.

After 3,500, he said, “I think we stopped counting.”

For information about Firefighters for Kids, email [email protected]