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Arlington's Santa Run collects for food bank

 

Christopher Andersson

Ivy Anderson and mother Ida Olson get a candy cane from Santa Claus on Dec. 2 as part of the Arlington Fire Department's annual Santa Run.

Santa and the Arlington Fire Department are traveling through local neighborhoods this December as part of the department's annual Santa Run.

The Santa Run began on Dec. 2 this year and will continue until Dec. 11.

A decorated fire truck along with Santa Claus comes through all the major Arlington neighborhoods during the event to meet with kids and collect food or cash donations for the Arlington Food Bank.

Starting at around 5:30 p.m. volunteers and local firefighters go through neighborhoods, including upcoming stops at Magnolia and Crown Ridge on Dec. 7, Ronning Road and Cemetery Road on Dec. 8, Gleneagle on Dec. 9 and 10 and the Crossing and Highland View on Dec. 11.

All donations collected go to the Arlington Food Bank.

"We've always had a close relationship with the food bank, and with families being in need this is a great opportunity for us to get out into the community and show what we're about," said local firefighter/paramedic Nich Sacha, who organized this year's Santa Run.

Last year the Arlington Fire Department collected about 8,000 pounds in food donations and about $2,500 in cash donations. That was a record for cash donations for the department.

"The community loves giving back to those in need," said Tom Cooper, Deputy Fire Chief of the Arlington Fire Department.

"It's important for us, as part of the community, to help and we're just the nucleus that goes out and collects it all," he said.

Many of the families also enjoy Santa coming into their neighborhoods. The fire trucks blare holiday music and run their sirens which alert the families to come out.

Local father Andrew Fowler said his kids love the event every year.

"We hear them coming and they run and get their shoes on and shout 'Santa's coming,'" he said.

"The kids just see the fire truck and Santa, and they flock," said Sacha. "Everyone peeks out the window and they come running out," he said.

Sacha said he enjoys helping bring the holidays to local families.

Christopher Andersson

The Fowler family meets Santa Claus on Dec. 2 as part of the Arlington Fire Department's annual Santa Run. From left, Andrew Fowler, Kari Fowler, Oliver Fowler, Elliot Fowler and Milo Fowler.

"The expressions on the kids' faces, in addition to the food bank donations, is the most important aspect," he said.

"It's a really great thing to do. The kids love it and the community loves it," said Justin Honsowetz, a firefighter/paramedic with the department.

For some of the busier families, it may be one of the only times they see Santa as well.

"For some of the kids we see, this might be their only exposure to Santa or the only time they'll be able to visit with Santa," said firefighter/paramedic Thomas Jackson.

Cooper said that the annual fire department event continues to get bigger each year.

"Over the last 20 to 25 years, the event has just grown and is well liked in this community," he said.

More information about the Arlington Fire Department's Santa Run is available at santarun.net.

 

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