Stepping Up: The community keeps on giving

Between Hood River Christmas Project and other community efforts, there is plenty of sharing going on this time year throughout Hood River County.

Hood River area schools are in the final throes of their canned food drives; they’ll make delivery to FISH food bank this week. The donations account for a major portion of the year’s provisions, especially the cash donations. The money can be used for FISH needs now and in the future. Keep that in mind as your youth approach shoppers at local stores.

Canned goods, peanut butter, pasta and other non-perishables are, of course, welcome. With the increase in frozen foods, as well as whole fruits and vegetables, the food banks these days provide an even deeper nutritional boost than they did just a few years ago.

The food drives conducted through our schools and churches have the direct benefit of serving the needy but they are also a great way for young people to get involved in something meaningful; it’s modeling behavior for how to make a difference. The high school alone has a goal of cash and goods donations equaling 200,000 cans — a major increase over the 124,000 collected in 2011. However, given past efforts there is little doubt they will reach it.

Meanwhile, add to the list of examples of community sharing a free Christmas dinner on Christmas night, Dec. 25, at 5:30 p.m. at Parkdale Elementary School.

All upper valley families, seniors or those in need are welcome to come enjoy a Christmas dinner at no cost, provided by the Inn at Cooper Spur.

With a few extra turkeys from Thanksgiving the restaurant saw a way to help those in need in the community. Parkdale School PTO members will be there helping serve the food, and anyone else interested in volunteering may call Alison at 541-370-5644.

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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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