Canteen Manager Teresa Kurts, left, and volunteer Rick Phillips, right, present a check for $5,000 to Harker Heights Fire Department Chief Jack Collier to benefit the Santa Pal program on Wednesday.

Jodi Perry

If not for donations from businesses like the Canteen in Harker Heights, Fire Chief Jack Collier said the Santa Pal program wouldn’t survive.

After conducting a benefit motorcycle toy ride on Sept. 21, Teresa Kurts and Rick Phillips presented the program with a $5,000 check on behalf of Canteen owners Mike and Lynn Barber at the Central Fire Station on Wednesday.

“This donation ensures we can continue with the program,” Collier said. “It gets more and more difficult every year and every donation we receive helps a family in need.”

This year, 138 families signed up to receive gifts and a Christmas meal. Of the 505 people needing assistance, 211 are adults and 294 are children.

The Christmas meal includes one turkey, two packages of stuffing, one dozen eggs, two cans of green beans, two cans of corn, one box of rolls and a pie. Each child in the family will receive one age and gender appropriate gift.

“Seeing all the donations really brings a smile to your face,” Kurts said.

Phillips said even a small toy donation could change a child’s Christmas.

“You can make a kid’s Christmas by donating something to this program,” he said. “It’s really gratifying to be able to help. We wouldn’t have been able to make this donation if it wasn’t for all the sponsors and volunteers who came out to support our toy run.”

Collier said the program wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the community’s support.

Families who met the requirements and signed up to receive the help will pick up their items today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Contact Vanessa Lynch at vlynch@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7567.

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