Toy and Food Brigade a success

It was a jolly walk through town on Dec. 11.

Some Sequim residents were expecting to see and hear the 1939 Ford fire engine carrying Santa Claus and a Christmas tree through town and handed Clallam County Fire District 3 firefighters and Explorer Post 1003 members bags of food and unwrapped toys.

Others were surprised to hear Frank Sinatra's and Elvis Presley's Christmas songs booming from an old red fire engine in the early evening and found themselves curbside in pajamas trying to get a photo of the decorated fire engine with their cell phones.

"Ho Ho Ho," Santa said into a speaker system mounted on the engine. "Come help Clallam County Fire District 3 help all the families in Sequim have a merry Christmas by bringing out your toy, food or cash donations."

Many weren't ready with donations and brought bags of donated items into the station the next day.

"For our first year, we had an incredible turnout," said organizer, firefighter and Explorer post leader Marc Lawson.

"We kept our scope pretty narrow this year, driving up and down all the streets in central Sequim. But due to the success, we will probably widen the scope next year."

Lawson said his office received dozens of calls from residents wanting to know the exact route Santa would take on his ride through town in order not to miss him.

"There was definitely a lot of interest," Lawson said. "It was a great feeling to see the looks on kids' faces when they saw Santa actually come to their home instead of them going to him for a photo."

Explorers, or high-school-age firefighter cadets, dropped off the food donations Dec. 15 at the Sequim Food Bank and toy donations the same day to

Sequim Community Aid at Trinity United Methodist Church.

Both organizations serve those in need in the immediate Sequim area.

"We really chose these organizations because of how local their focus is," Lawson said.

Donna Tidrick, president of Sequim Community Aid, said the demand from local families is growing every year and said she expected a large increase in the number of families coming in for gifts in 2008, possibly more than 500.

The organization provides low-income families in the

Sequim School District with gifts for children during the holidays, help with utility bills any time of year and any type of aid its volunteers can provide.

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