Foundation takes a bite out of need

This week, Lions Club Foundation’s Thanksgiving bundle opened up, creating a uniquely Hood River cornucopia of grants to local causes.

The 33 grants address elderly nutrition, health and safety equipment, toys for children, furniture for a women’s shelter, and other visible needs.

But the biggest grant from Lions will help with something that can’t be seen. A $10,339 grant to Hood River Fire Department will pay for the department’s thermal imaging camera — which sees in the dark and smoke.

“The camera can definitely be a lifesaver. It’s been credited with saving lives,” said Devon Wells, Hood River fire marshal. The camera “takes heat pictures,” Wells explained. “You can look right through smoke and see a crystal-clear black-and-white picture of a firefighter or victim and know right where they are.” The camera can also detect fire smoldering unseen inside walls, and to help find people in search and rescue operations, by detecting heat sources in the dark. The camera will be the second of its kind in Hood River County; Odell Fire Department already owns one.

Schools, the hospital, the Hood River County Museum, the county library and other public entities share in the wealth. So do fledgling groups such as Cascade Locks Interested in Kids, Big Brother/Big Sister Program, Helping Hands Against Violence, First Book, and Hood River Christmas Project.

As Bob Johnson, director of The Next Door, Inc., put it, “The kinds of things they (Lions Foundation) do locally aren’t matched anywhere in the state. It’s a local organization giving money to local projects in an amount that is certainly not something that has any peers anywhere else in the state. It’s quite remarkable for a small community to have this kind of charitable capacity.”

Johnson said the $3,927 grant to New Parent Services for parent education materials is “an example of something that allows us to reach the entire community.” The grant will pay for Spanish-language materials.

“It allows us to fully implement the best practices research-based things in that area that, were it not for the Lions Club, we wouldn’t be able,” Johnson said. “In the case of Nuestra Communidad Sana, (Our Healthy Community) they have the only domestic violence program specifically designed for the Latino community in this area, and given the hard times that have hit this community and the Spanish-speaking community more so, being able to continue to operate this domestic violence program is one of those things that really makes a community whole.” Johnson said there are many needs in the Hispanic community that would go unaddressed were it not for the Lions Club.

The Lions Foundation is the largest single charity in Hood River, its annual coffers averaging around $115,000. Hood River United Way isn’t far behind, with its 2002 campaign goal of $110,000. United Way volunteers have spent hours this fall meeting with businesses and other donor groups in their campaign toward that goal. Some overlap exists, but one of the niceties of the Lions grant program is that it either augments United Way or serves groups it does not.

The Foundation distributes a $2.1 million gift from an anonymous donor. For administering this generosity, the Lions deserve a hearty roar of gratitude for their sharing of the annual fund. Beyond that, the Lions’ list — it starts on page A1 — provides an excellent opportunity to review the type of needs in Hood River’s communities, and a wide glimpse at the works that need doing all year round.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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