For the second consecutive year, during their one-day “Fill the Fire Truck” food drive, firefighting volunteers from throughout Wallowa County received more than $10,000 worth of food and money to help stock the shelves of food banks in Enterprise and Wallowa.
While standing in fire turnouts near Highway 82 in Joseph, Enterprise, Lostine, and Wallowa, department volunteers eagerly took in donations Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. during Community Connection’s largest food push of the year. Community Connection manages the two local food banks.
Says Connie Guentert, manager of the Community Connection office in Enterprise, “This is really good, fantastic in fact. This gets us through the holidays. It (the firefighters’ food drive) has a huge impact on our community.”
Guentert said a measuring yardstick would put $1 of value on each pound of food donated.
By that formula, the fire department in Joseph led the way this year. Guentert said firefighters from Joseph brought in $3,215 in cash and 2,120 pounds of food, by her equation a gain to the food bank worth $5,335. She said the Enterprise firemen, located in the parking lot of The Dollar Stretcher, secured $1,907 in cash and 1,065 pounds of food. Although collected separately, Guentert said fire departments in Lostine and Wallowa pooled their collective gifts of food and cash before individual counts for the two departments were taken. Together, those two fire departments took in more than $940 in cash and more than 800 pounds of food.
Saturday’s drive was the sixth annual for local fire department volunteers. Departments in Joseph and Enterprise launched the effort in 2009, Wallowa firemen first joined the effort last year, and this year was the first for the Lostine Volunteer Fire Department.