Firefighters will be back in operation tonight and Thursday helping the community with lights flashing and sirens blaring, but with a different purpose — collecting food for the needy.
The Everybody Loves Firefighters food drive will get under way at 6 p.m. tonight, with firefighters and volunteers collecting food from Havre residents east of 5th Avenue, and repeating the process Thursday west of 5th Avenue.
Firefighter Cody McLain, who is organizing the ELF drive this year — “They call me the head elf” — said volunteers still are needed for the drive.
“People are coming, but the more the merrier,” he said. “The more people, the more efficient it is.”
In the drive, firefighters will drive fire engines with emergency signals running — including periodically setting off the siren, so people know they are in the area, McLain said — while volunteers go to the doors to collect donations.
The food drive is one of the largest food collecting activities each year for the Havre Food Bank, which, like other food banks across the state this year is struggling with a combination of more people needing help and funding cuts.
McLain said the firefighters time the drive each year to help during this busy season.
“It’s an annual holiday food drive, is kind of what we do it for,” he said.
Many are trying to chip in to help the food bank this holiday season, with needed food as well as cash donations — even if the bank has enough food, the bills still have to be paid.
Town Pump is matching donations to the Havre Food Bank through Nov. 26, and through November, Havre’s Pizza Hut will donate 20 percent of purchases each Tuesday to the Food Bank.
The Havre Daily News also is offering a bonus for donating to the food bank. For each turkey donated, people will receive an entry in a drawing, set for Dec. 22, for a six-month subscription to the paper.
A class from Montana State University-Northern is holding a fundraising Salisbury steak dinner Wednesday, Nov. 16, at the St. Jude Parish Center from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The dinner, which also will offer baked chicken, potatoes, salad and desserts, is $4 for children 8 and younger and $7 for 9-through-adult.
A youth group from St. Jude Thaddeus Church will help serve the meal.