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January 21. 2013 8:10PM

Rochester police and firefighters to skate hard for charity


While the Rochester police team is defending their undefeated record against their counterparts on the fire department, residents in need are the clear winners of the annual charity hockey game, which collects donations for the local food pantry. The 6th annual game is set for Feb. 8. (COURTESY)
ROCHESTER - Once again, police and firefighters plan to help residents in need by strapping on skates and taking to the ice next month.

Area residents are invited to the sixth annual charity hockey game, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. in the Rochester Arena - which donates the time on the ice for the event - at 63A Lowell St.

The entry fee to the game is non-perishable food items that will be donated to Gerry's Emergency Food Pantry, which provides assistance to Rochester residents and families in need.

Detective Steven Gahan said local police and family members are defending their undefeated record against a team of local firefighters and their families. While the game is for charity, he said there is a friendly rivalry on the ice.

Gahan, who's participated in the event for the past three years, said the crowd has steadily grown over the years.

He added several hundred items of non-perishable food were donated as part of last year's game.

"This is a good opportunity to give back to our community where the fire and police departments can show off their competitive sides in a friendly game of ice hockey," Gahan said in an e-mail.

The pantry - located in the Rochester Community Center at 151 Wakefield St. - is grateful for the support, according to Co-coordinator Anne Ackerman.

Ackerman said the pantry assists an average of 300 to 350 people each week, a mix of families, older residents and couples in need.

She said the pantry received quite a few donations in November and December, but they can always use more donations to help keep the shelves stocked until the Postal Drive in May.

"The thing we're desperate for is peanut butter," Ackerman said, adding there are only a few jars left at the pantry. "That's something everyone wants."

Ackerman said the panty always needs more personal care products such as shampoo, soap, deodorant and shaving cream.

For more information about Gerry's Emergency Food Pantry, visit www.sharefund.org.

jquinn@newstote.com

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