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Clackamas Fire staff and off-duty firefighters help serve a Feed the Hungry meal on Sunday, Dec. 9

It was a busy December for public-safety officials, with more home fires to fight and more police shifts to look out for drunken drivers leaving holiday parties. Local firefighters and police officers also took the time to give back to those in need.

SUBMITTED PHOTOS - Resers Fine Foods staff donate coats and other winter items to the Clackamas Fire drive. Most local police agencies participated in the annual Shop With A Cop event where low-income kids who have had some enforcement contact in the past year get presents purchased with funds from the Clackamas County Peace Officers' Benevolent Foundation.

Clackamas Fire staff and off-duty firefighters helped serve a Feed the Hungry meal on Sunday, Dec. 9, at St. John Episcopal Church, 2036 S.E. Jefferson St., Milwaukie. At the event, they handed out gently used coats and new hats, gloves, scarves, socks, blankets and personal hygiene items collected from their seventh annual Winter Warming Drive.

Oregon City police officers nominated 29 children to receive presents through their Christmas 911 program this year.

Oregon City Sgt. Dave Edwins accepts a donation of new books from Grand Finale Dance Studio in Gladstone for the OCPD Christmas 911 benefit."Our amazing community — from citizens, Canemah Neighborhood Association, business owners and the Oregon City Public Works Department — adopted all these children for the holiday," said Chris Wadsworth, OCPD community outreach specialist.

Ron Tonkin Dodge on McLoughlin Boulevard held its third annual Cram the Ram Toy Drive for Christmas 911. On Dec. 17, 19 citizens came to the police department and wrapped all of the gifts delivered by Ron Tonkin in two hours.

"Officers delivered all gifts to the 29 children, and the remainder of the gifts delivered by Ron Tonkin, and gifts delivered by community members, are being handed out to children in need throughout Oregon City," Wadsworth said. "We have also been blessed with cash donations for Christmas 911 by community members. What a wonderful way to begin Christmas by helping children in our community. Thank you to all of you who helped me make all this happen."

Clackamas Fire has supported Feed the Hungry for the past 17 years, serving one or two meals throughout the year.

"Through their years in volunteering, it was apparent the gift of hospitality to the community could be stretched further during the winter season," said Clackamas Fire spokesperson Brandon Paxton.

For the Winter Warming Drive, Clackamas Fire furnished collection barrels mid-October through mid-November at three fire stations. The collected items were donated to Feed the Hungry. More than 150 sets of coats, hats, gloves, scarves, socks and blankets were distributed to dinner guests during the time that Clackamas Fire served its Feed the Hungry meal.

In addition to the items collected from the barrels, Clackamas Fire received $3,750 in donations from the Clackamas Fire District #1 Volunteer Firefighters Association, Clackamas Emergency Services Foundation, Professional Firefighters of Clackamas County Local 1159, and from several other area citizens and organizations. The funds were used to purchase additional gently used coats and new winter items.

Feed the Hungry, begun in 1991 by St. John Episcopal Church, is now a separate nonprofit organization using the church kitchen and parish hall to serve Sunday meals. Dinner guests don't have to stand in line, and they are let into the lobby to enjoy snacks and beverages before the meal begins.

"The success and longevity of Feed the Hungry can be widely attributed to community support, such as area high schools, Rotary Clubs, churches, public agencies and citizen volunteers," Paxton said.

Meanwhile, Clackamas deputies randomly handed out $100 bills during the holiday season. Four years ago, the Secret Santa Mission began in Clackamas County by two sisters who want to remain anonymous.

Other family members and people in the community joined in with donations specifically for this. This year, deputies had $9,500 to spread around before Christmas.

"We've given it to all of our patrol shifts" along with community corrections and other programs, said CCSO Sgt. Brian Jensen.

Normally people don't like getting pulled over, "and I don't blame them," he told KOIN 6 News. This is a chance "for us to let them know that, hey, it's OK, and here's something to maybe make your day a little better."

There are more opportunities to give back and to be of service to the community. If you would like to help out by volunteering to serve a meal or to donate winter clothing items, contact Feed the Hungry at 503-653-5880 or fthmil

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