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Cambridge firefighters fighting food insecurity for the holidays

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Cambridge firefighters are hoping to do their part to give everyone a holiday meal.

Members of the professional firefighters' association were out at the south Cambridge Zehr's over the weekend collection food donations and bagging customers' groceries.

"We love helping people," said Dan Milani of the Cambridge Fire Department. "Christmas season means that we can be integrated in the community and give back to the people."

The 102nd annual collection has become a tradition for the department.

"People see this, they love it," said David Croucher, assistant manager of the Zehrs. "They love donating, they love giving back to the community, especially at an event that they know goes to the people that need it the most."

All proceeds go to their basket fund, which aims to feed families over Christmas. The holiday dinner is made up of bread, milk, cheese, potatoes, carrots, and fresh poultry.

"All the money raised goes toward that," said Evan Wise of the department. "Along with a chicken or a turkey, fresh eggs, we do the handout the week before Christmas."

Last year, they raised $9,000 and paid for 350 meals. This year, they've exceeded the $10,000 mark and are expecting to cover at least 400 meals for local families.

"There are a lot of people that don't have holiday dinner because they can't afford it with the prices now," said donor Melissa Davidson.

The firefighters will also be holding food drive pickups at local schools.

"You want everyone to be able to celebrate with their family and friends and get that sense of community as well," said Milani.

Non-perishable food can be dropped off at local fire halls, while monetary donations can be made on the Cambridge Professional Firefighters' Association website.

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