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The annual food drive staged by crews from Woodburn, Hubbard, Donald and Aurora is altered for pandemic safety

JUSTIN MUCH - Volunteers unload a truck of food donations at St. Luke Catholic Church during the 29th Annual Food Drive. This year's drive will change due to COVID-19 safety as firefighters team up with Love Santa, Inc.With Love Santa Inc. forced to change its focus this year due to COVID-19, so, too, will the firefighters who stage the annual Firefighters Food Drive.

Love Santa Inc. President Robert Prinslow recently announced that this year's pandemic has shifted the nonprofit away from its traditional gift giving and food drive.

The outfit, which has helped brighten the holidays for thousands of youngsters and families over the past several decades, will concentrate on putting food on the tables of needy families this year.

Through its partnership with local school districts, Love Santa plans to deliver about 450 food boxes, but the caveat is that volunteers cannot accept food donations in the traditional manner due to pandemic safety precautions.

Neither can the firefighters. But over the Thanksgiving holiday, firefighter James Audritsh explained how Woodburn Fire District will adjust to this new script replacing the annual food drive.

Audritsh said members from Woodburn, Hubbard, Aurora and Donald fire departments will be set up Saturday, Dec. 5, in specific locations in their communities to accept donations of cash, checks or provide the availability to donate online using a QR code.

"For the last 25 years, firefighters have participated in the annual Firefighters Food Drive to benefit those in our local communities. With the pandemic in place this year, the safest way for firefighters to assist is to partner up with Love Santa Inc.," Audritsh said. "Firefighters will be staged on Dec. 5, starting around 9 a.m. and finishing up around 1 p.m. We will have donation buckets available for those who would like to support our efforts to give back to the communities we serve.

"Masks will have to be worn and social distancing followed," he added.

Firefighters will set up at the following locations:

• Woodburn firefighters will be in parking lots at Woodburn Company Stores, 1001 Arney Road; Woodburn headquarters Fire Station, 1776 Newberg Highway; Woodburn Estates and Golf Country Club House, 1775 Country Club Road; Woodburn Bi-Mart, 1600 Mt. Hood Ave.; Gervais High School, 300 Douglas Ave. NE, Gervais.

• Hubbard Fire will set up at St. Agnes Church, 3052 D St., and the Hubbard Fire Station, 3161 2nd St.

• Aurora and Donald firefighters will set up at their respective stations, Aurora 21390 Main St. NE; Donald, 20909 Feller St. NE.

Audritsh invites everyone to stop by between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. and help support the community cause and thanks the community in advance. For information, call Audritsh at 503-951-2366.

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