Regardless of which team wins, hundreds of needy children will come out on top.

In June, the Council Bluffs Police Department and the Council Bluffs Fire Department will collect necessary household items, like cleaning supplies and hygienic products, for families helped by Boys Town Iowa.

Boys Town Iowa helps families in 30 western Iowa counties, but the contest between the CBPD and CBFD, called the Boys Town Iowa Drive, will make life easier for Council Bluffs families, said Debbie Orduna, director of Iowa operations.

Each department has six collection boxes located throughout Council Bluffs at the police stations, fire department stations, local Hy-Vee grocery stores, Hy-Vee Drug Store and The Center on South Main Street.

“We feel very fortunate that the police and firefighters are helping our cause,” Orduna said. “They put their lives on the line everyday to ensure our safety, and they also have a true understanding of the importance to help families receive basic needs. We are very appreciative of the passion they have put behind this cause. It’s just another way they go above and beyond.”

Council Bluffs Fire Chief Justin James said Boys Town has helped him in a personal way by assisting a boy he knows.

“I think (Boys Town Iowa) is trying to get into something that is missed right now. A lot of time these children are in very rough conditions,” James said. “The kids and their parents are living in poverty and they don’t have any money to go out and buy cleaning supplies or hygiene products, so we are just trying to done those items so they can have a better and more successful home, a cleaner environment for the children.

“I don’t believe there is a charity out there that provides these necessities,” he said. “There’s nowhere else for them to go.”

Council Bluffs Police Officer Jill Knotek said for many people items such as toothpaste and toilet paper are necessities, but for some needy families those items are luxuries.

“A lot of families live in poverty and they have to decide how they are going to spend their money. They have to decide whether to spend it on transportation, items for their children or food. Oftentimes, there is not a lot of money left over. “

On July 1, the donations will be weighed at a ceremony at the Boys Town Iowa office at 1851 Madison Ave. After the weigh-in, a winner will be crowned.

“It makes it a little more fun,” Knotek said. “It’s for bragging rights.”

James joked that since the fire department traditionally comes out on top in competitions with the police department it isn’t that big of deal. Of course, providing necessities to needy family is a big deal.

“Our guys love kids and we see many families in terrible spots,” James said. “We want to do whatever we can to help.”

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