Editorial: Christmas project needs donations

December 10, 2011

He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh," says the old "Christmas Song" chestnut.

We all warm to the comforting sense of nostalgia found in this and other holiday musical traditions.

But in reality, things are looking not comfortable, but sparse, for plenty of families in our midst. Statewide, rates of hunger, homelessness and poverty are up 2-5 percent, according to the 2011 report by Children First, an independent organization that studies health and welfare conditions for Oregon children.

This year, a record total of 1,015 kids are signed up for toys, according to the caring people who organize the Hood River Christmas Project.

Barrels are available at businesses and other locations throughout the community: see "How to Help" on page A5 for a list, along with other information about how to get involved in Christmas Project and other seasonal giving efforts.

Gifts of food and unwrapped toys are needed by noon on Monday.

Gift and food baskets will be distributed Dec. 16-17.

For families in need, the time to give is now, not Christmas Eve. The sleigh arrives early for many of our neighbors. It is up to the community to load up that sleigh, in the form of Hood River Christmas Project.

Flags Lowered

Cpl. Adam Buyes

Gov. John Kitzhaber has ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, Dec. 10, in honor of Corporal Adam Buyes.

"Corporal Buyes was a proud Marine courageously serving his country," said Kitzhaber. "His dedication and commitment is inspiring, yet his death is a tragic loss and a reminder of the burden our military continues to bear overseas. I urge all Oregonians to honor his selfless service and to keep his family and friends in their thoughts."

Cpl. Buyes, 21, of Salem, died Nov. 26 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.

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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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