The Helping Hands Program allows donations of gently-used fire/rescue equipment, fire trucks and other items to be made available to fire departments throughout the state while providing liability relief to the donor.
     The program routinely receives donations in the way of structural gear, fire hoses, nozzles, rescue tools, ladders, ventilation fans and other items that are essential to the operation of a fire department. 
     Since 1997, the Helping Hands Program has received more than $40.5 million in donated equipment. Donations are vital to meeting the needs of volunteer fire departments and we are grateful to our donors for their participation in supplying equipment through this program.

     + Eligibility
    Chartered, non-profit VFDs operated by its members are eligible. Any part-paid, part-volunteer fire department with 20 or fewer paid members is eligible.
     + Apply

    Application for Fire Department Assistance - HELPING HANDS (TFS-FO-403) (PDF, 278KB)

    Note: Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) - By law, SCBA's must be recertified to the manufacturer's specifications by a manufacturer authorized technician before being made available for placement. There is a certification fee that is required from each recipient. The amount of the fee may fluctuate.

    As of March 1, 2017, each department may be issued up to eight (8) SCBA at the current cost of $105 each (SCBA $85 / Bottle $20). This price only includes the basic certification fee, and does not include repairs to add-on features such as heads up displays. Texas A&M Forest Service and the Helping Hands Program is not responsible for repairs to add-on features of SCBAs.

     + Donate


    Complete and submit the donation form (PDF, 153KB) and include the Application for Texas Certificate of Title (PDF, 656KB), if applicable. Once submitted, a Texas A&M Forest Service representative will contact you to complete the transaction. 
    Donating organizations have the opportunity to designate a specific recipient at the time of their donation. The specified recipient must claim their donation within three (3) calendar months of Helping Hands receiving the donation. If the designated recipient does not claim the donation within three (3) calendar months, the donation shall be forfeited and assigned to the first available recipient per the standard placement process.
    Your donation is critically important and appreciated by VFDs and the communities they serve. 

    To get started:

    • Download the Donation Form (PDF, 153KB)
    • List all applicable equipment on one form
    • Specify which department you would like your donation to go to. If none is specified, TFS will fill pending requests.

    If applicable, also Apply for Texas Certificate of Title:

    Submit completed forms to:
    Texas A&M Forest Service
    Attn: Helping Hands Program
    2127 S. First St.
    Lufkin, Texas 75901

    Or fax: 936-639-8138


     + Contact

    Texas A&M Forest Service
    2127 S. First St.
    Lufkin, Texas 75901
    Attn: Helping Hands
                       Phone: 936-639-8100
    Fax: 936-639-8138
    Email: helpinghands@tfs.tamu.edu