Firefighters get massive food drive contributions

George Goertzen hands off a donation to Grimsby firefighter Aaron Crawford
at the Main Street stop on the reverse parade route. Williscraft – Photo

By Mike Williscraft

The volunteers from the Grimsby Firefighters Association knew it was going to be a good day when they already doubled their best donation year before Saturday night’s main event – the reverse Santa Claus Parade – rolled into town.

“It was just incredible,” said food drive committee member Jeff Dancer.

“We normally have 150-160 banana boxes of donations. We had 300 from our day at the Peach King Centre.”

During the parade, vehicles were lined up at 5 p.m. with about 1,500 motoring through the 10-display route.

It was a scene straight out of Field of Dreams with cars streaming down Ontario Street – right out to Bartlett Ave. at one point. Williscraft – Photo

By the 9 p.m. wrap up time 550 boxes of food were received with an additional $4,500 in cash and gift cards donated via boot-drive-style contributions.

“We had an incredible response for the event overall,” said Trevor Ruzylo of Grimsby’s recreation department, who helped coordinate the event.

“All of our sites, volunteers and businesses truly stepped up to create a wonderful experience for the community during a difficult time.”

The event marked the first time a standing donation site had been set up. This aspect was mainly a backstop planned since nobody knew what to expect from the reinvented event.

“We have already talked about next year and doing something like that again,” said Dancer.

“The whole thing went great beginning to end. At one point the lineup went to Bartlett. We asked how long it took them to get to Main Street. It was about an hour and nobody minded a bit.”

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