If you see a local fire truck pull up on your street the weekend of Nov. 18-19, don’t be alarmed. It’s time for the annual Firefighters’ Food and Toy Drive.
This year’s event is a six-alarm special, with six area fire departments joining in a regionwide effort Saturday, Nov. 18 and Sunday, Nov. 19.
Donations of food, toys and money for the Salvation Army will be collected by firefighters and volunteers from the Bow Horn Bay, Coombs-Hillers, Dashwood, Errington, Parksville and Qualicum Beach volunteer fire departments.
Bow Horn Bay is the newest addition to the lineup this year. The food and toy drive began in Qualicum Beach in 1997 and Parksville came on board in 1998. Errington and Coombs-Hilliers joined the effort in 2016.
The week prior to the food drive, through the local newspapers, Quality Foods will provide paper bags for groceries. Residents who are not able to be at home at the time of pick-up may leave the bag in a carport or by their door, and it will be picked up by firefighters.
To donate in your local community:
• Bow Horn Bay welcomes drop-offs at its firehall at 220 Lions Way in Qualicum Bay from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. Hot chocolate or coffee will be provided and tours of the hall and its trucks will be offered. More at www.bowhornbayvfd.ca.
• Coombs-Hilliers will host a donation drop-off and tours from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at Hall #2, 3241 Alberni Highway. A fire engine will also visit some of the more populated areas, such as Whiskey Creek and Virginia Estates, from 10 a.m.-noon. Donations for the drive may be dropped off at the firehall between Nov. 11 and Nov. 18.
• Dashwood VFD will open both of its stations, at 230 Hobbs Rd. and at 1800 Galvin Pl. in Meadowood, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 18. Crews will tour the more populated areas, and residents are welcome to leave out their donations for pick up, weather permitting. More info at www.dashwoodvfd.com.
• Errington VFD invites residents to drop off their donations Nov. 18 and 19, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, at Station #1, 960 Errington Road. For more info, visit www.evfd.ca.
• Qualicum Beach Fire Department will have trucks circulating through neighbourhoods Nov. 18 — complete with Christmas carols — from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Residents may leave donations at the end of the drive or at the front door in visible locations. Or listen for the sirens and carols and flag down the firefighters as they go by. Anybody missed during the pick-up may drop off donations Nov. 19, from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the firehall, 130 Rupert Rd. E., and a bin will be set up in the lobby of town hall.
Chartwell residents will have door-to-door pickup of donations by members of Arrowsmith Search and Rescue Nov. 18. Info, www.qualicumbeach.com.
• In Parksville, firefighters will collect door-to-door throughout the city and the areas served by the Parksville Fire Protection Area, including San Pareil, Morningstar, Columbia Beach, French Creek, Fourneau Roard and the Forever Green Estates.
Anybody missed during door-to-door collection is encouraged to bring non-perishable food items and/or new, unwrapped toys to the Parksville Fire Hall, 160 Jensen Ave., during regular business hours, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Cash donations are also welcomed.
The department is also looking for apartment building ambassadors, residents willing to coordinate donations of food and toys for their building. For info, www.pvfd.ca.
The 2016 food and toy drive collected more than 30,000 pounds of food and cash donations of $14,000 for the Salvation Army, city communications director Deb Tardiff stated in a written release.
“Any support that residents are able to give is appreciated by the Parksville Fire Department,” said Tardiff. “Every little bit helps and will make the world of difference to many families this holiday season.”
— NEWS Staff/
City of Parksville release