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Southeast merchants, firefighters, respond to community need at Christmas

by: Mary E. Campbell Firefighters (clockwise from lower left) Matt Phillips, Matt Emery, and Ryan Mathes stand with Duniway Elementary School student Bridget Borden, who is making a toy donation at the colorfully-decorated Toy ’N Joy collection box at Westmoreland’s Station 20.

This is the 'busy' season, but there are several ways people can create a little Holiday magic for someone in need right in your neighborhood.

Here's a primer on what some merchants, and even the fire department, are up to:

Bi-Mart (4325 S.E. Woodstock)

Food drive by local Boy and Girl Scouts troops. Canned and dry good donations can be dropped off in store.

QFC (6411 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue)

'Bringing Hope to a Table' food drive. Customers can buy a 'pre-made' bag of groceries in store, or choose gift cards in one, five or ten dollar denominations. Simply hand to the teller at checkout. The 'Bringing Hope' campaign benefits 915 hunger relief agencies in Oregon and Clark County Washington.

New Seasons Market (1214 S.E. Tacoma)

Benefitting Portland Rescue Mission and Loaves and Fishes. Adding $1.88 to your purchase at checkout provides one meal for a homeless man, woman, or child at the Portland Rescue Mission. You may also donate to Loaves and Fishes (The 'Meals on Wheels' people), which delivers meals to homebound seniors. They serve Multnomah, Washington, and Clark counties.

Safeway (4515 S.E. Woodstock, S.E. Powell at 39th [Chavez])

'Help Us End Hunger Campaign', benefiting the Salvation Army. Grab a pre-made hunger bag in the store when you check out - which contains the basics of a nice Holiday meal. A Toys for Tots collection bin is also available. Simply bring in a pre-packaged toy for a child.

Fred Meyer, (Johnson Creek Blvd. at S.E. 82nd)

Salvation Army door greeters are collecting donations, and in-store collection boxes are provided for donation of new unwrapped toys for children.

Portland Fire and Rescue (at any local fire station) - 'Toy 'N Joy Makers'.

Toy 'N Joy Makers' mission for 95 years has been to promote the spirit of helping children and families of the community during the Holiday season; cash and toy donations can be dropped off at any local fire station, including Westmoreland's Station 20 on Bybee Boulevard, and Woodstock's Station 25 on 52nd just north of Holgate. Drop off a new unwrapped toy during the community hours of 8 am to 10 pm (although fires are fought 24 hours a day!). 'We love kids and families to come in,' says Deborah Weissenbuehler, Lieutenant on C shift at Station 20. 'We generally give kids a tour if they want. We have stickers and fire safety information - and, for parents, we provide a tax deductable receipt.'

Toy Drive Suggested Toy Items

• (Infant Toys) Fisher Price, Playskool, Play Doh Play Sets

• Tea Time Sets, Etc.

• Junior board games

• Legos, Lincoln Logs

• Tonka Cars/Trucks

• Model cars, trucks, airplanes

• Fashion Dolls (Barbie, Bratz)

• Dolls (other than fashion)

• Basketballs, Soccer Balls, Footballs

• Craft kits (jewelry, purses, paint by number, etc.)

• Electronic games (portable)

• Portable CD players, Radios

* Books for all ages 13 and under