Local fire departments will be handing out candy canes, towing around Santa, and collecting food donations for the annual Santa Run on the evening of Dec. 15.
The Sooke, East Sooke and Otter Point fire departments will be collecting non-perishable food items and cash donations for the Sooke Food Bank.
Sooke Fire Chief Steve Sorensen said the event evolved from a community event into a food drive 15 years ago.
Although unplanned, the first year collected one can of soup after a local woman walked up to Sorensen, handed him the food item and said, ‘Here, this is for the food bank.’
“I was down Sooke River Road doing the run, just handing out candy canes when she came out and gave me a can of soup,” he said.
Now over a decade later, the Sooke Santa Run has four routes, four decorated fire trucks and tows around four different Santas, collecting, “tons and tons of food.”
The routes take place in Saseenos, Sunriver, central Sooke and Whiffin Spit and West Coast Road.
“It’s grown to the point now that we actually have to send pick up trucks along with the fire trucks because they get so loaded that there’s no more room,” Sorensen said.
Last year, the fire department collected two large construction trailers full of food and a pick up truck load.
“We pile them up pretty good, so it’s probably two to three feet high. It fills up the basement of the community hall.”
According to Kevan Brehart, Otter Point fire chief, the Otter Point Santa Run is just as successful.
“In past years we’ve had to run back to the hall to unload and go back and get more,” he said. “It’s been really, really good support from the district.”
The fire departments will be distributing paper bags in the Sooke News Mirror to be used food donation hampers.
Detailed information on routes and times will be printed on the bags, and extra bags are available at the Sooke News Mirror office and at the District of Sooke.