Cascade Locks rescues Santa during food drive

December 17, 2005

In spite of a sleigh breakdown, Santa has managed to collect hundreds of non-perishable food items for needy Cascade Locks families.

On Dec. 9, local firefighters put Santa’s conveyance on the top of Engine 94. However, the light display that festooned the aging piece of equipment overloaded the battery.

Santa was then grounded with nowhere to put the canned and boxed foods that citizens waited to give him.

However, Santa’s helpers – including Mayor Ralph Hesgard and 20 firefighters – immediately launched Plan B. They brought out a brush rig that allowed Jolly Old St. Nick to resume his visits with some of the 1,150 city residents.

Cascade Locks Fire Chief Jeff Pricher said citizens of the rural community were as generous as usual with their donations. In fact, he said some contributors were waiting for the annual pick-up with a case of canned food.

By the end of the evening, Pricher said enough items had been donated so that 55 families could have a heaping box of meal supplies. In addition, individuals and businesses contributed $1,000 to help the fire department provide a full holiday dinner.

Pricher said that money was used, in part, to buy turkeys, rolls and stuffing, provided at cost by Columbia Market.

Firefighter Megan Webb said the department also purchased extra yams, canned pumpkin and cranberries to round out the holiday fare. She said not only will families and individuals be given everything they need next Friday’s delivery to cook a traditional dinner — they will also receive other banquet possibilities.

“They get some good stuff,” said Webb while meticulously selecting items for one of the boxes.

These choices include the macaroni and cheese popular with children, pizza crust mix, saltine crackers, tea, and both fruits and vegetables.

Cascade Locks firefighters will spend about 28 hours this year preparing supplies and getting them distributed, according to Pricher.

“This is an opportunity for us to let this community know that we’re trying to do everything that we can to help them out,” he said.

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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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