Santa inspects the decorations on a Sooke Fire Rescue truck, getting ready for the annual Santa Run to collect food and donations for the Christmas Bureau and the Sooke Food Bank. (Black Press Media)

Santa inspects the decorations on a Sooke Fire Rescue truck, getting ready for the annual Santa Run to collect food and donations for the Christmas Bureau and the Sooke Food Bank. (Black Press Media)

Santa Run aims to bring cheer to Sooke, help less fortunate

Food, cash and toys help to make the season special for all

Sooke firefighters will decorate their trucks, fire up the Christmas music and take to the streets at dusk to collect food, toys, and cash donations for the Sooke Food Bank on Dec. 14.

It’s the Sooke Santa Run and it’s a beloved holiday tradition and for the 26th time will help bring joy to those folks in the community that need a little help.

“This is the third year that I’ve been involved in this project, and I can tell you that for myself, and I’m sure all the volunteers, it’s something that puts a smile on our faces,” Lowell Holmquist, Sooke firefighter, said.

“I remember how last year someone donated some bikes and I heard how, when those bikes were delivered to the children, they couldn’t believe it. They were over the moon.”

The Santa Run is part of a larger Christmas campaign that last year managed to collect more than $8,000 in cash donations, mounds of toys, and two large trailers of food for the Sooke Christmas Bureau and Sooke Food Bank.

“The food donations are really critical to our operation,” Kim Metzger, Sooke Food Bank executive director, said.

“Events like the Santa Run help fill our shelves, and for a couple of months we can catch our breath and not worry about where we’re going to get the food we need to fill the next week’s hampers.”

But as much as holiday season initiatives like the Santa Run are a godsend for food bank volunteers, the season can be a particularly difficult time.

“This is not a glamorous volunteer job. Our clients will often come in here very stressed and worried about providing for their families over Christmas and our volunteers take on that stress themselves,” Metzger said.

“They are by nature caring individuals, and they want to do what they can to help. The Santa Run makes that a little easier.”

RELATED: Last year’s Santa Run a huge success

In addition to the food and cash donations the Santa Run collects, toys are donated by Sooke residents. It’s a trend for which Metzger is very grateful.

“Santa’s Anonymous does a great job of providing toys to children, but they stop after about 1,500 children. We do what we can to pick up the ones they miss,” Metzger said.

“When I started here in 2011 we did 13 toy hampers. This year we’ll do more than 100. It’s a lot of work, but worth it.”

Metzger is quick to point out that when food bank sets up what it calls its “toy factory” in the weeks before Christmas, there’s a real sense of the season felt by all volunteers.

“You’ll see a lot of smiles as they fill those toy hampers,” Metzger said.

The Santa Run is the capstone of the firefighters annual Fill-A-Fire-Truck campaign that includes collection initiatives at Village Foods, Western Foods and Shoppers Drug Mart. More than $100,000 worth of food and cash was donated last year.

“We’re really blessed in Sooke to have a community that really cares,” Metzger said.

“People come and tour the food bank and they get an understanding of how we work. By the time they leave they’re totally behind us and willing to offer their support.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Sooke Fine Arts Show will be online again this year, showcasing unique artworks from Vancouver Island and B.C.’s coastal island artists from July 23 to Aug. 2. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke Fine Arts Show goes virtual for second year in a row

Art exhibition and show set for July 23 to Aug. 2

The Habitat Acquisition Trust has secured a biodiverse 23-hectare parcel of land in Highlands through a donation from Anne and Jim Ganns, who owned the property for 50 years. (Photo by Jeremy Da Silva/Courtesy Habitat Acquisition Trust)
23-hectare land donation in Highlands extends permanent habitat protection

Anne and Jim Ganns pass on property purchased 50 years ago to the Habitat Acquisition Trust

Ownership of SISȻENEM — also known as Halibut Island located east off Sidney Island — has transferred to W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council after The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC) had purchased the island for $1.55 million. (The Land Conservancy/Submitted)
SISȻENEM (Halibut Island) transfers to W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council under historic agreement

The Land Conservancy purchased the 9.67-acre island for $1.55 million with help from unnamed donor

Landis Carmichael is the Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as the Emergency Services Award winner. (Photo courtesy Landis Carmichael)
29-year-old firefighter has spent almost half his life with Langford department

Landis Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Emergency Services Award

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
‘Stay local’: Dr. Henry shoots down spring break travel for British Columbians

B.C. is reportedly working with other provincial governments to determine March break policies

“Our biggest challenge has been the amount of vaccine,” said FNHA acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald. (First Nations Health Authority Facebook photo)
All First Nations on reserve to be vaccinated by end of March: First Nations Health Authority

Vaccinations continuing for B.C. First Nations amid shortages

(Delta Police Department photo)
B.C. youth calls 911 after accruing $7K in online gaming charges

‘Police spoke with the student about appropriate times to call 911’

Site C will go ahead, one year later and $5.3 billion more, the NDP announced Feb 26. (BC Hydro image)
B.C. NDP announces Site C will go ahead with new $16B budget

Reviews recommend more oversight, beefed up foundation stability work

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

Most Read