Santa on fire truck

Inquiring minds have often pondered just how Santa Claus manages to deliver so many presents in one night — so much so that NORAD set up a tracking system purely to allow kids to follow Saint Nick’s laden sleigh as it makes its way round the globe.

On a more local scale, the yuletide heroics of firefighters from North Lincoln Fire & Rescue are just about as impressive. Each year, first responders don their Santa hats to deliver presents to hundreds of families throughout North Lincoln County.

The annual Christmas Toy Drive is a partnership between the fire district, the Lincoln City Eagles Lodge #2576 and the Lincoln City Elks Lodge #1886. Firefighter Marc McPherson said the origins of the tradition are a mystery.

“We don’t know when it started,” he said. “I went back through all the newspaper clippings and can’t track it down.”

But the scope of the program is very clear; families that live within the district’s coverage area from Kernville to Rose Lodge and who complete an application will get presents delivered for their kids — no questions asked. Gifts are available for kids aged one to 17, with deliveries taking place on Saturday, Dec. 21 . An adult must be present at the home at time of delivery.

McPherson said this year’s drive will see firefighters visit between 350 and 400 homes, traveling by fire truck and personal vehicle.

In order to make all these Christmas wishes come true, the program relies on gift donations from the public. Donation bins are set up at more than 30 locations throughout the district’s coverage area, including most large grocery stores.

While donations are needed for kids of all ages, McPherson said teenagers are where the need is greatest.

“They’ve often moved on from toys and are more into gift cards,” he said, adding that gift cards are best dropped off at either the Eagles Lodge, 737 SW 32nd Street, or the St. Claire Station, 4520 SE Hwy. 101 in Taft.

Christmas Toy Drive application forms are due by Saturday, Dec. 7 and can be picked up at the St. Claire Station.

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