Editorial: Support projects of giving, and do so locally

November 16, 2011

The listing we call "How to Help" grows longer all the time. It's a reflection of both local need and local compassion. This seasonal directory will appear again in our Weekend Edition, as local groups put out the call to donate items or funds to benefit the needy during the coming holidays, and at other times.

One of the more prominent such projects is the Hood River Christmas Project, which last year provided food and toys to 517 families in the county.

Signup dates are in full swing, and coordinator Bruce Holmson and others are gearing up to deliver holiday food and children's gift baskets one month from now.

Now is the time to consider adding your gifts to the project, as well as helping with other local giving efforts, some of which help locals and others serve global needs.

During November and December, businesses on west Cascade, the Heights, and downtown, will have food and toy collection barrels for Christmas Project. New toys and teen-appropriate items for the children's gift baskets are needed.

You can also help by contributing checks to the Christmas Project to help purchase food and gifts: Checks may be mailed to P.O. Box 872, Hood River, OR 97031. All donations are tax-deductible and letters will be mailed to donors.

Even if you cannot give of money or items, you can give your time by volunteering to help pack or deliver items. The project needs between 200 and 300 volunteers, particularly during Dec. 13-17.

If you can help, call Kym Zanmiller at 541-386-5153 or visit: www.hoodrivercountychristmasproject.com

Sponsors are also needed for families.

If you need help, these are the dates and locations for signing up for Christmas Project.

In Hood River: Oregon Department of Human Services, 1610 Ninth Court on the Heights (off of Pacific Ave.): Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In Parkdale: Parkdale Community Church during food bank hours Nov. 21, 4 to 6 p.m.

In Odell: Odell Food Bank, 3440 Odell Highway, Nov. 17, 4-6 p.m.

Applicants can sign up at whichever location is most convenient for them.

If you do go out and buy things for Christmas Project or other goodwill efforts, where can you shop?

Locally, of course.

"Supporting locally owned, independent businesses is in the best interest of Hood River-area residents - and residents throughout the Gorge - to help maintain our quality of life," reads a proclamation by Mayor Arthur Babitz for "GO! Local Week," Nov. 25-Dec. 4.

Hood River City Council passed the resolution, sponsored by Gorge Owned Business Network (GO!) at Monday's meeting.

It's good that local government is taking this step, but it underscores a common sense approach to things: we can help our neighbors in many ways, including supporting the stores and businesses that are owned by, and employ, local people.

Giving to local food banks and other projects is a good idea year-round, and so is buying

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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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