Walla Walla rural firefighters spread cheer to families in need

Fire District 4 delivered groceries, dental kits and gift certificates to five local families this week.

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WALLA WALLA -- Walla Walla Fire District 4 and its auxiliary members carried in armloads of good cheer to five homes this week. Families in need of some holiday assistance received bags of groceries, dental kits and a gift certificate to Shopko.

Fire District 4 received $1,000 from the Association of Washington Business' annual Holiday Kids' Tree Project fundraiser. This year, the Holiday Kids' Tree Project raised over $20,000 from its members and distributed the money to 15 rural fire departments, including District 4 Chief Rocky Eastman's department.

"Fortunately, our department and our local area was selected as an outreach area in the eastern side of the state," Eastman said. "This is the second year that we've been a recipient."

In collaboration with the Salvation Army, District 4 selected five families who would need food and gifts for the holidays.

An auxiliary member mentioned the program to dentist Stanley Pearson Jr., who added kits of floss, toothbrushes and dental goodies to the groceries and gifts for each family.

"We went out to deliver the food (on Tuesday) and the families were extremely happy," Eastman said. "It's a good way to express some Christmas joy to them."

Fire District 4 and auxiliary members contributed their own funds to the Toys for Tots program, which delivers gifts to children whose families need financial assistance.

The AWB Holiday Kids' Tree Project fundraiser, which started in 1989, has raised nearly $300,000 to provide food and gifts to families in need.

"The families are very appreciative and thankful for the food during this time of year," Eastman said.

Katrina Barlow can be reached at katrinabarlow@wwub.com.

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