Warrenton - This was the 23rd year for the Warrenton Fire Department's Christmas Food Drive, and the fire house on South Main Avenue was overflowing with canned goods Thursday morning as Warrenton volunteer firefighters and their families sorted through piles of canned goods.

By the end of the day, those canned goods had been allocated to 140-plus baskets destined for needy families. The cans, donated by members of the community, were supplemented by 75 turkeys, 75 chickens, 120 two-gallon boxes of milk, 10 cartons of eggs, 150 10-lb. bags of potatoes and lots of oranges.

By 6 p.m., everything had been loaded into fire trucks, pickup trucks and trailers. By 9:30 p.m., the baskets had been delivered. Chief Ted Ames thanked the community for their generosity.

"We have a number of community members who donated money, and the volunteer firefighters also chipped in money for perishables," said Ames, who has participated in every one of the food drives.

The first food drive was started by a couple of volunteers who are no longer members of the fire department, he said. That first year, only 16 families received Christmas baskets. Last year there were 110.

This year, the number rose to more than 140.