Community

Fire department's food and toy drive helps 130 local families

South King Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Donna Conner prepares a box of food to deliver to needy families Dec. 22. Boxes of food and bags of toys waited at SKFR
South King Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Donna Conner prepares a box of food to deliver to needy families Dec. 22. Boxes of food and bags of toys waited at SKFR's headquarters in Des Moines to be delivered through the district's annual Community Food and Toy drive.
— image credit: Jacinda Howard/The Mirror

South King Fire and Rescue firefighters and personnel played Santa on Dec. 22 when they delivered food and toys from the district's annual Community Food and Toy Drive.

Approximately 30 volunteers braved the snow and ice to deliver a holiday dinner, two presents per child and nearly a week's worth of groceries to 130 pre-selected families.

The food and toys came in an overwhelming number this year. More than 10,000 food items were donated. The area's high schools helped greatly in this respect. Federal Way High School donated approximately 4,500 items, as did Decatur High School, while Thomas Jefferson High School contributed about 750 food items. Additionally, SKFR spent $800 to purchase food.

Donated toys overfilled rooms at the district's headquarters in Des Moines. The district received so much support and donations that staff joked about not being able to house any more, spokeswoman Kendra Kay said.

"It's a great feeling to have too much stuff," Kay said.

Firefighters, personnel and volunteers spent Monday morning loading sacks of food and toys into their personal vehicles and hand-delivering the items. The snow and ice made travel a bit challenging, but everyone kept a positive attitude.

Each family receiving the goods was chosen with the help of the Federal Way School District. Angel Hernandez, 7, and Jose Hernandez, 6, were among the children whom were surprised by the firefighters' visit to their home. These are the only gifts the boys will receive this Christmas, Patricia Hernandez said.

The community responded favorably to the food and toy drive this year. What was not given to SKFR's chosen families was donated to the Salvation Army and Multi-Service Center in Federal Way. Various churches also picked up toys to distribute, Kay said.

"It's not just about what we can do to help our (130) families," she said. "We've definitely shared our donations."

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