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Volunteer Rosemary Bisner stocks food at the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry in Scappoose. Numerous Columbia County community groups are stepping up to help during the holiday season

PMG PHOTO: MARK KIRCHMEIER - Volunteer Rosemary Bisner stocks food at the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry in Scappoose.

A fire boat will dramatically sail into south Columbia County moorages to collect donations and toys this Sunday, Dec. 15, for the annual Share and Care holiday campaign. Santa will ride on the boat from Coon Island to the Skyline Moorage.

The Scappoose Fire District boats will glide alongside the Christmas Ships fleet and join a countywide effort for needy families, a collaborative effort that includes Columbia River Fire and Rescue of St. Helens, the Scappoose Library, local Kiwanis clubs and numerous churches and businesses. 

The combined effort will help more than 500 families.

And a new partner, the Portland Fire Bureau, is making a big lift.

"It's pretty awesome — Portland Fire just donated a full truckload of wrapped toys to us," said Shelly Booth, SFD office manager. SFD and the Kiwanis Club expect to feed some 240 families this season and provide gifts to 192 children and 81 teenagers. They can receive donations at the fire district office between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 52751 Columbia River Highway.

Food drop box sites include Bi-Mart, Ichabod's Restaurant, Ace Hardware, Scappoose Senior Center, the Fitness Connection, Scappoose Middle School and Warren, Otto Petersen and

Grant Watts elementary schools. Contributing organizations include private foundations

such as the Veterans of For-

eign Wars, Walmart, Dutch Brothers, Les Schwab, Cascade Tissue, the Wigwam tavern and others.

In St. Helens, CRFR is sponsoring its annual Toy N Joy program along with Kiwanis Holiday Hope.  The two drives last year provided food, clothing, toys

and books to more than 300 families. 

Donations can be dropped off at the CRFR office at 270 Columbia Blvd., St. Helens.

Columbia River Foursquare Church is partnering with Riverside Community Outreach in supporting foster children. The church has a "giving tree" at the church where individuals can pick up a gift tag and return to the church at 555 Commons Dr., St. Helens.

First Lutheran Church in St. Helens will feature its weekly free dinner from 5:30 to 6 p.m., Tuesday in the parish hall at 360 Wyeth St.  

"Some people came as early as 4 p.m. for the meal," said Pastor Randy Sinn.

Local Boy Scouts will also assemble some 100 bags of food on Christmas Eve at the church, he said.

St. Vincent de Paul food bank volunteers in Scappoose report brisk traffic. 

"It's gotten a lot busier since just before Thanksgiving," said Mike Bradley, a volunteer at the food bank.

The St. Vincent de Paul food bank is located at the St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church site and is open 1 to 3 p.m. Monday and Thursday. More than two dozen volunteers are staffing shifts there.

The Columbia Pacific Food Bank and The Bread Store have provided a lot of supplies to the community, but volunteer Rosemary Bisner emphasized, "We need more donations of eggs and milk."

The Scappoose Public Library began free food distribution in September and is now giv-

ing away five boxes of prod-

uce and two crates of bread products every week to about 30 people.

"We're giving out all the food we can get," said Rachell Lunden, the library's reference librarian. She said more donations would be appreciated.

The library is located at 52469 S.E. 2nd St., Scappoose.

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