Santa Claus is coming to town, only this time he will be a couple weeks early and riding a bright red fire truck.
Sooke Fire Rescue will hold its annual Santa Run on Dec. 9, where firefighters drive up and down streets, collecting donations of non-perishable food or cash to give to the Sooke Food Bank.
“The holidays can be a stressful time, so we just want to take the pressure off and have people feel comfortable knowing they are going to have a full pantry on Christmas,” said Sooke firefighter Ben Temple.
He explained that his favourite part about the Santa Run is engaging with the community and seeing how much they step up to help people in need.
“Firefighters get a lot of the glory because they are the ones with the trucks and the lights, but the reality is if we drove around all night and nobody contributed any food then the whole thing would be a bust,” said Temple. “It really is a communal effort that makes this event such a success.”
Otter Point firefighter John McCrea explained that it’s important to get out and be active in the community and show their presence.
“I think it makes a huge difference to the community to see that the fire department is here for them and ready to support and serve them for anything they need,” said McCrea.
Firefighters will be set up outside the local grocery stores this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday collecting donations, and people are welcome to drop donations off prior to the Santa Run at the fire hall as well.
If you are not around during the night of the Santa Run, you can swing by the fire hall and “elves” will greet you, help you unload your donations, and send you on your way.
East Sooke and Otter Point will also be doing food runs on the same night. All three fire departments begin their routes at 5 p.m.
Brown paper bags to put food donations in will be distributed this week. On the bag, you can find out approximately what time the trucks will be coming by your house.
“The whole thing is so great. As firefighters we get to make a living off helping people but sometimes it’s nice to be a little more proactive like this, as opposed to arriving on the worst day of someone’s life we are sort of preventing a bad day,” said Temple. “It’s a special time of year and anything we can do to make it a little more special, we jump on that opportunity.”