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Woodburn Fire District will take the lead again as volunteers set up to take donations to help Love Santa

COURTESY PHOTO: WOODBURN FIRE DISTRICT - Woodburn Premium Outlets was among the sites where area firefighters collected donations for a food drive in 2020. The drive helped Love Santa deliver 450 food boxes to area families. Firefighters will be back this year on Saturday, Dec. 4.A year ago Woodburn-area firefighters teamed up with Love Santa in lieu of the former's annual siren-blaring food drive rolling through town.

The partnership worked well.

Organizer James Audritsh said firefighters will again set up stations in various places this year to collect donations. These funds will help the 450 families who stand to receive care boxes through Love Santa over the holiday season. The time and date for the Annual Firefighter Food Drive's "Day of Giving" is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4.

Woodburn will set up at the following locations: Woodburn Company Stores on Arney Road; Woodburn Fire District main station on Newberg Highway; Woodburn Estates; Woodburn Bi-Mart parking lot.

Aurora Fire District tentatively plans to be set up at one of the intersections in town or at a convenient location for the community to drop off monetary donations.

Hubbard fire will likely be staffing the fire station and possibly the St. Agnes Church parking lot for donations.

Woodburn Fire District headquarters station is also a designated Love Santa toy drop off location, accepting new, unwrapped toys until Dec 10.

"While we will not be turning anything away, any food collected will be given to several local food banks," Audritsh said. "We are most in need of money to purchase the food boxes."

Audritsh said the last year's food drive was a success, despite the pandemic-induced adjustments made from earlier years.

"What we learned from last year is even in a major pandemic, we have the most giving community," he said. "Not only does the community give, but the firefighters of our communities are the most giving as well."COURTESY PHOTO: WOODBURN FIRE DISTRICT - Woodburn-area firefighters collected thousands in donations to help Love Santa feed area families over the 2020 holiday season., Woodburn Independent - News

Audritsh noted that Love Santa is committed to providing 450 food boxes to those in need, just like last year. Woodburn and North Marion school districts had school liaisons who assisted with signing up families in need. Woodburn City Hall also helped sign up families this past week.

"Love Santa Inc. will be providing a food box that will be full of fresh store foods," Audritsh said. "They have put together a list of the most essential food items and are having the boxes made to order. This includes a jar of peanut butter, cans of soup, cans of vegetables, boxes of pasta and so on. You get the picture.

"Each box has been penciled out to cost $100," he added. "This includes a fresh loaf of bread, bag of oranges, bag of potatoes, gallon of milk, dozen eggs and so forth. If you have done the math, they need $45,000."

Audritsh further noted that this year's plans include providing an age-appropriate toy for every child that can be wrapped and opened on Christmas day.

"This is a change from last year where we gave every family a Wal-Mart gift card," Audritsh said.

Although the more vibrant charitable processes of pre-pandemic times may have been more exciting, organizers feel the adjusted methods, at least for one more year, are still well worthwhile.

"We understand that this collection is not nearly as fun and exciting as driving through the streets of town, sirens blaring, kids with big smiles meeting us at the curb with cans in hand. We can't safely do that again this year at all. But we can still help," Audritsh concluded.

Day of Giving

When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

Where: Woodburn Company Stores on Arney Road; Woodburn Fire District main station on Newberg Highway; Woodburn Estates; Woodburn Bi-Mart parking lot, and sites in Aurora and Hubbard.

Beneficiary: Love Santa, which will provide food and toys to 450 families in need. Love Santa Info: Visit lovesantainc.org or the Love Santa Facebook page or call (503) 951-4072.

For Firefighter Food Drive/Day of Giving information or to volunteer, contact James Audritsh at 503-951-2366.


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