The Harker Heights Fire Department’s Santa Pal program is in full swing again this year and applications are still being submitted from families in need.

Fire Chief Jack Collier expects to go above and beyond the numbers the program served last year.

“Together, with the Lions Club, we were able to help 150 families last year, and we’ve already received 150 applications this year with a few days left to turn them in,” Collier said.

The Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce has stepped in to help raise donations this year and organize fundraisers for the program.

“Donations are still needed for teenagers - those are the hardest to buy for and gift cards or money help with those gift needs,” said Gina Pence, membership director.

To assist with unique requests and fund additional needs not met by toy donations, fundraisers are being held to drum up support.

“Red’s Corner Grill is donating 10 percent of all food sales for the entire day to the Santa Pal program on Dec. 17,” said Tod Smith, manager at Red’s Corner Grill in Harker Heights.

Smith was raised in this area and said he likes to give back when he can.

Donations of food items are also being accepted by the Santa Pal program. “Families who receive toys also receive a Christmas meal that includes a turkey and all the fixings with dessert,” Pence said.

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. Donations can be dropped off at the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce, 552 E. Farm-to-Market 2410, Suite B; to Harker Heights City Hall, 305 Miller’s Crossing; or to the Harker Heights Central Fire Station, 401 Indian Trail.

The last day for donations to be dropped off is the morning of Dec. 19. Families will receive their items on Dec. 20.

“Every year the community comes together to provide for our families in need and we just want to say ‘thank you’ for the continued donations and support of the Santa Pal program,” Collier said.

Herald/ Kathryn Leisinger

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