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Police, firefighters join forces in holiday food drive
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LATHROP – If you’re feeling generous on Saturday, Dec. 4, stop by the parking lot of Save Mart on Harlan Road in Lathrop.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on that day, there will be three huge bins in front of the store where people can drop off food donations to be distributed to the needy during the holiday season.

This is a joint project of the Lathrop Police Services and the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District. They held one last year and its result was so phenomenal that they decided to have one again this year.

“Last food drive was a complete success! Almost three huge bins of food were donated to our local food pantry, Second Harvest of Manteca,” reported Deputy Andrea Lopez in an e-mail to the Bulletin.

This year, the cops and firefighters made a huge head start to their philanthropic project, thanks to a generous donation of $500 worth of groceries from Save Mart. Additionally, the property manager of the shopping center again gave them the green light use the site for the food drive.

Adding to the festive gift-giving atmosphere that day, and to encourage as many people as possible to participate, there will be a police car and a fire truck parked at the donation site. Children will be given an opportunity to experience sitting in the police car and the fire truck while the food donations are collected.

Battalion Chief Jones of the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District explained how this partnership in generosity during the holidays between the two agencies – fire district and Lathrop Police department - got started.

“We jointly wanted to do something to give back to the community,” he said.

The cooperative venture was simply segued from the projects that the two service agencies already do the rest of the year, he further explained.

“(Deputy Lopez) and I work on a lot of projects during the year – the Lathrop Days celebration, the police citizens academy, and the D.A.R.E. program,” Jones said.

It’s a symbiotic relationship, he added. “We support their activities, we participate in whatever they need” such as the D.A.R.E. and citizens academy graduations, and in turn, the police services reciprocate the same way.

“We have a very good joint relationship,” Jones said of the give-and-take working situation between the fire district and police services.

How and where the donated food items will be distributed and used will be up to Second Harvest, Jones said.

While it’s not yet set in stone, the police officers and firefighters hope to make this food drive an annual event, he said.

For more information on the Lathrop Police and Fire Food Drive, contact Deputy Andrea Lopez or Chief Don Jones either by phone or e-mail –  (209) 923-1937, (209) 456-0906.