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Firefighters help SOS food drive

Captain Mark Schlehlein of the Sussex Fire Department drives the restored 1931 Model A Ford fire truck. The fire department is asking for donations to help fill the truck for the food pantry.

Captain Mark Schlehlein of the Sussex Fire Department drives the restored 1931 Model A Ford fire truck. The fire department is asking for donations to help fill the truck for the food pantry. Photo By Scott Ash

March 4, 2014

Village of Sussex — Some paid per emergency call volunteer firefighters, who often sacrifice personal time to serve the community, are going to give up a Saturday afternoon this week to help the local food pantry.

Fire Chief Colin "Corky" Curtis said the firefighters have organized a food drive to help the Sussex Outreach Service (SOS) restock its food pantry shelves.

Curtis said the firefighters learned several weeks ago that the food pantry was facing a shortage of certain nonperishable food items because of a post holiday lull in donations.

The firefighters are going to use the department's Model A antique fire truck, which was the department's original firefighting apparatus, to deliver the food to the food pantry.

Firefighter Matt Petricca, who is also a village trustee, said volunteer firefighters will be accepting donations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at three locations.

Those locations include the Piggly Wiggly grocery store on Main Street across from Village Hall, the Pick 'n Save grocery store at the intersection of Highway 164 and Silver Spring Road and at the fire station in the Public Safety Building on Main Street.

Curtis said individuals who leave food donations at the fire station will be offered a tour of the facility.

Petricca said food donations delivered at the two grocery stories will be taken by firefighters to the fire station and placed in the back of the antique fire truck along with donations that have been delivered to the fire station .

Petricca said he anticipates the fire truck load of donated food items will be delivered to the food pantry southeast of the triangle intersection of Main Street and Silver Spring Drive.

However, Petricca said he is hopeful that more than one fire truck load of donations will have to be delivered to the food pantry Saturday.

"I am hoping we are going to have to make several trips during the day to the food pantry. But, we don't know. This is the first year we have done this," he said.

Jennifer Waltz, SOS executive director, told the Sussex Sun last month there is a shortage of popular food items such as canned chicken or tuna, hearty and chunky sty soups, boxed rice meals, mangoes and pineapples.

She said there is also a shortage of ravioli, macaroni and cheese, Manwhich, Hamburger Helper and canned corn.

She explained those are cost conscience food items that can be used in the preparation of several meals.

"There is always a lull in donations after the holiday season and before the Boy Scouts annual food drive in March," she said.

Waltz said there are 24 more families that registered with the food pantry in 2013 compared to 2012.

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