Sicamous Fire Chief Brett Ogino loads toys into the back of his truck during the Sicamous Fire Department’s toy and food drive in 2017. (File Photo)

Sicamous Fire Chief Brett Ogino loads toys into the back of his truck during the Sicamous Fire Department’s toy and food drive in 2017. (File Photo)

Shuswap fire departments gear up for annual toy and food drives

Donation-gathering event very important for Eagle Valley Community Support Society

A time-tested institution of charitable giving during the holiday season in the Sicamous area will be back for another year in early December.

The Sicamous, Malakwa and Swansea Point Fire Departments are putting on their yearly toy, food and donation drive over the first two Sundays in December. The drive is a critical source of donations for the Eagle Valley Community Support Society (EVCSS) as they strive to help families in need.

Jennifer Ribi, a community counsellor with EVCSS, said the drive, which started in Malakwa in 1997 and Sicamous and Swansea Point the following year, is very important to the society’s efforts.

“The campaign brings in about half of the non perishable food items needed for the hampers required at Christmas and many of the toys,” she said.

“Every year the Eagle Valley Community Support Society is able to help families in need through the generosity of members of our community.”

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Ribi said items which are in high demand at the food bank include: non-sugary cereal, peanut butter and other nut butters, canned salmon, tea, coffee, pasta, canned stew and chili, flour, pancake mix and syrup, canned fruit and fresh or frozen meat.

Chief Brett Ogino of the Sicamous Fire Department said that as several of his firefighters will be away on the first Sunday of December when the toy and food drive has traditionally taken place, firefighters will be touring Sicamous neighbourhoods on Sunday, Dec. 8 instead. In Sicamous the firefighters usually announce their presence with lights and sirens as the roll through the streets picking up donations of unwrapped toys, non-perishable food and cash from residents. The toy drive runs from noon to 3 p.m.

The Malakwa Fire Department will be out collecting donations on Dec. 8 as well.

The Swansea Point Fire Department will also be roaming the neighbourhood they serve collecting donations, but they are doing their drive on the first Sunday of the month, Dec. 1. The Swansea Point drive will run from 2 to 4 p.m.

Firefighters with the White Lake Fire Department will be out on their 12th annual Christmas Food Drive on Tuesday, Dec. 3, with door-to-door pickup between 6 and 9 p.m. Non-perishable and factory packaged items wanted, with all donations going to the Sorrento Food Bank.

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jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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