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A toy drive to be proud of

by: Sam Bennett, 
Peggy Halley, Lake Oswego battalion chief of training, and Greg Barnum, an LOFD driver/engineer, help load bicycles as part of a toy drive.

In one of the best toy drives ever for the Lake Oswego Fire Department, 15 bikes were collected as well as hundreds of toys.

The Christmas Holiday Food Basket and Toy donation program is for low-income families in Clackamas and Washington counties.

Food baskets and toys were delivered by volunteer members of the Tualatin Valley Elks Saturday.

Each year, beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Lake Oswego Fire Department kicks off the program. It's been more than 30 years since the Lake Oswego Fire Department began partnering with the Lake Oswego Elks, now known as the Tualatin Valley Elks.

Food baskets are purchased with donations from Elk Lodge members and local donations and the toys collected at the fire department, then distributed along with the food baskets to needy families.

This year, the Tualatin Valley Elks will deliver more than 100 food baskets and toys to low-income families who have as many as five to six children each, who will benefit from this holiday giving program.

This year's toy drive started out more slowly than in years' past and fire department staff were concerned there would not be enough toys to fill the need of all the children.

But local residents came through and donations were dropped off by adults, children, social clubs, businesses and many other individual donors.

One anonymous donor purchased 12 bicycles and brought an SUV filled with bags of toys.