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Arlington ‘Santa Run’ collects 5,800 lbs. of food
ARLINGTON — Arlington firefighters collected 5,800 pounds of food and $611.75 for the Arlington Community Food Bank over the course of 10 nights through this year’s “Santa Run” food drive, which made its way through the town’s neighborhoods from Friday, Dec. 7, through Sunday, Dec. 16.
Arlington Fire Capt. Dave Kraski explained that, after 20 years, this event has become the largest annual contributor to the Arlington Community Food Bank, collecting an average of 5,000 pounds of food each year, thanks to the combined efforts of roughly 70 volunteers, many of whom pitch in on two or even three different nights.
“It takes at least seven adults each night to make it happen,” Kraski said of the Arlington firefighters, as well as their families and friends, who escorted Santa on a decorated fire engine to gather food donations, pass out candy canes and spread holiday cheer. “We usually have some kids helping as well.”
International Association of Fire Fighters Local #3728 purchases the candy canes, decorations and Santa gear each year, while the city of Arlington provides a reserve fire engine and aid vehicle to be used, in addition to covering their fuel expenses.
Kraski credited Arlington High School Varsity Boys Basketball Coach Nick Brown and his wife Caryn with suggesting that the “Santa Run” make a stop at the AHS campus prior to a home game next year.
“It could be fun to work with the school district, and have the fire engine lit up and parked out front of the high school, conducting the food drive as everyone arrives for the game,” said Kraski, who sees this potential plan as a means of drawing donations from those who live outside of Arlington and might not even be aware of the “Santa Run.”
Kraski praised not only the Arlington community for its consistent generosity, but also the volunteers who help coordinate and carry out the food drive over the course of several winter evenings each year.
“I would especially like to recognize Matt Allen, Deana Dean and Jennifer Egger for their help, as well as the firefighters union, which organizes and underwrites the event,” Kraski said.