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Rochester firefighters aim to help kids in need

ROCHESTER - Once again, firefighters will combine two holiday traditions Saturday as part of their annual effort to provide local children in need with presents for Christmas.

While they have been collecting items for their annual toy bank, firefighters hope to encourage more participation through their soup, chili and chowderfest, which is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall along Columbus Ave.

Proceeds will benefit the Rochester Toy Bank.

For $5, participants may sample all of the entries in order to select the best recipes, and winners will receive a plaque for the top soup, chili and chowder.

It's the perfect event to warm up residents before the city's annual parade begins at 3 p.m. near Spaulding High School. The collection of floats and performers - clad in the "Cartoon Christmas" theme - will wind through the downtown until they reach the Commons.

Last year, local firefighters provided about 750 gifts the week before Christmas to younger residents in the city. Once again firefighters ask residents and businesses to donate toys for children from newborns to age 14.

New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the Rochester Fire Station at 37 Wakefield St.

Firefighters are always looking for ideas or donations for children 11-14.

For more information, contact the Rochester Fire Department at 335-7545.