Canned food fever ignites charitable spirit

The annual “pie-in-the-sky” target is 200,000 cans of food collected for Hood River County residents in need. Last year, the Hood River Valley High School student food drive for FISH food bank netted close to 124,000.

“This year, we hope to do a little better,” said Niko Yasui, activities director and leadership teacher for HRV.

The canned food drive, which provides close to 20 percent of the food bank’s annual operating budget, involves literal cans, plus the cash donations needed to purchase other food items distributed through FISH. The students’ drive usually stocks the shelves for several months.

“Some people can’t afford a lot. This is our way to help,” said Sam Ortiz, a sophomore volunteer.

“We are part of the community. We want to help,” said Kim Vargas, another sophomore involved in the drive.

To help reach these annual, honorable goals, the school staff provides fun and funny incentives along the way.

At 75,000 cans collected, administrators have agreed to come to school dressed in opposite-gender clothing. At 100,000 cans, every student gets a (Dairy Queen) Dilly Bar. At 130,000 cans students would enjoy a free dance and 200,000 cans would involve, on a personal level, an eagle tattoo for Vice Principal Todd McCauley — “but only if Mrs. McCauley will let him,” said Yasui.

This year’s event takes a theme from the block-buster film, “Hunger Games,” and Yasui kicked off the event wearing one of the signature blue wigs seen in the film.

“If the kids get to 150,000 cans, several administrators have agreed to have their hair dyed blue and gold,” added Yasui.

The kooky antics surrounding the event, including a males-in-bikinis car wash slated for this weekend by Nan Noteboom’s class, reflect the genuine positive spirit of all involved, and the importance of joining together as a community to get something serious accomplished.

“All of the cans and money goes to the food bank to help others and that is really important,” said Luis Lopez, HRV sophomore.

“I feel bad for people who don’t have money but this is something that I can do,” said Laura Delgado, another sophomore.

The community generously steps up to help the entire student body in their monumental task. In addition to the door-to-door requests conducted by student groups, fundraising events have been organized by many of the participating third period classes.

Choir classes have passed the hat at concerts. A “beater” car has been donated for the annual $1-a-smash car demolition. The recent Nutcracker performances collected more than 2,400 cans at the door. Collection bins and cans are found in many area businesses. Families have sacrificed from their own cupboards.

The drive is slated to end on Dec. 19. Donations may be dropped off at the front office of HRV or any of the donation sites around town.

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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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