Firemen’s food basket drive under way

For many years the Lovell Volunteer Fire Dept. has spread Christmas cheer and good will – and helped many families in the process — through the annual Firemen’s Christmas Basket Program, and according to Capt. Bob Mangus, the effort for 2012 is already rolling.

The fire department is accepting monetary donations as well as non-perishable food items, both of which may be dropped off at the fire hall. Drives are also under way at Lovell and Rocky Mountain elementary schools, and the Rocky Mountain FFA chapter recently collected food for the baskets.

Jim Minchow helps student Brenden Lundberg load up non-perishable items collected by the students at Lovell Elementary School for the firemens’ food baskets last Christmas, while students Natalia Jolley and Trecelle Jolley wait for their turn to load items.

The Byron Lions Club and the ABATE motorcycle club also provide food, Mangus noted.

Needed are canned goods and non-perishable food, and the fire department will purchase hams, bread, milk, butter, cheese, potatoes and other fresh items for the baskets.

“We also need names with a good address and a phone number, too, if possible, so we can catch them,” Mangus said. “We’ll do anywhere from 150 to 180 baskets again this year, depending on the names we get. If people know of anybody or if you need one themselves, contact us. We only have about 30 names so far.”

The deadline for donating food is Tuesday, Dec. 18. Firemen and other volunteers will assemble baskets the morning of Dec. 20 and deliver the baskets on Dec. 20 and 21. Mangus noted that the Deaver-Frannie Fire Dept. delivers the baskets in that area and the Byron Lions Club delivers in the Byron area. The Lovell Volunteer Fire Dept. covers Lovell and Cowley and the surrounding area.

The fire department can always use more help, Mangus said.

“Anyone interested in helping by coming and pitching in to help sort food may stop by the fire hall on Dec. 18 and 19,” he said.

Mangus and Neil Mayes are in charge of the food drive this year.

By David Peck