Alternative gift fairs make the world a better place

Looking for something different to put under the tree this year? This weekend brings two gift fairs to the Mid-Columbia that will help you do just that — and help make the world a better place.

On Saturday at Hood River’s Riverside Community Church, 4th and State Street, the Alternative Gift Fair runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Co-sponsored by the Columbia River Fellowship for Peace and the Columbia Gorge Unitarian Universalists, the fair offers shoppers a chance to buy “gifts” that make a difference both locally and internationally.

Booths will be set up representing a variety of local and international non-profit organizations. Local groups on hand include PROD (Promoting Responsible Ownership of Dogs), the Hood River County Library Foundation and The Next Door, Inc. International organizations represented include the International Justice Mission, Catholic Relief Services and the Quaker Bolivia Link.

Shoppers can buy gift amounts which will aid the organization of their choice — or the organization favored by the gift’s recipient. Shoppers also are given a gift card to give the recipient telling what the gift amount will buy and how it will help the organization.

“The neat thing is you can really tailor it to whoever you’re giving the gift to,” said Theresa North, who spearheaded the fair. There will be a special “child’s shopping list” with gift amounts from $11 and under so that kids can participate, too.

On Sunday, the Bethel United Church of Christ’s 5th Annual Fair Trade Gift Sale will be held from noon to 4 p.m. at the church, located at 480 E. Jewett in White Salmon. The sale features items ranging from jewelry to stocking stuffers to holiday decorations that come from producers who receive a living wage for their work.

In addition, shoppers have the opportunity to give to the Heifer Project or Habitat for Humanity in the name of a family member or friend. All Habitat for Humanity gifts will stay local for the recently-formed Gorge chapter of the organization.

Shoppers can enjoy free cookies and organic coffee from the Cafe Mam Cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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