Sooke Fire Rescue crew Vince Schutt

Sooke firefighters hit the road for Christmas Bureau

Sooke Fire Rescue takes to the streets for the annual Santa Run this Saturday

Four fire trucks. Four routes. One night.

Sooke Fire Rescue takes to the streets for the annual Santa Run this Saturday (Dec. 10).

Keeping up with the annual tradition, around 20 firefighters will hop in fire trucks and head into Sooke communities for its Fill-A-Firetruck campaign, which rakes in thousands of food items and cash for the Sooke Christmas Bureau every year.

The four fire trucks, decorated from the wheels up with Christmas lights, will start roaming Sooke neighborhoods at 4:30 p.m. and continue until 10 p.m. – complete with holiday tunes playing.

Routes are divided by four: red, green, blue and orange. Red is Sooke Town Centre/Broom Hill, green is Whiffin Spit/John Muir, blue is Sooke Road, and orange is Sunriver.

Joining this year’s Santa Run fleet is Sooke Fire and Rescue’s museum-piece-on wheels, a 1942 International fire truck, known simply as The 42.

As the fire trucks reach each neighborhood, residents are encouraged to come outside with nonperishable food items.

“It’s nice when you’re helping the people in need with the food, helping the food bank out by collecting the food, it’s a good feeling,” said Sooke Fire Rescue assistant chief Matt Barney.

Barney said there will also be chase vehicles (pickup trucks) that will go and collect the food from time to time, bring it back and store it at the fire hall until they can drop it off at the Sooke Food Bank.

The practice began 23 years ago when Sooke Fire Rescue started doing it as an appreciation to the community for allowing the organization to build the fire hall.

“Kind of like paying forward, but then it morphed into something more. One year, someone gave us a can of food, so we thought, ‘Oh, OK!’ so we started doing it annually as a help to the food bank,” Barney said.

This year, Sooke Fire Rescue will also sponsor a few family food hampers.

In case you miss the fire trucks, donations for the Sooke Christmas Bureau can still be dropped off at Fire Hall No.1, 2225 Otter Point Rd. Paper bags for food donations will be distributed by the Sooke News Mirror carriers to homes this week.