Winter-long welcome mat: Hood River Warming Shelter

Warming Shelter is a place of stories.

“The people you meet, they have so much to tell. I’ve really enjoyed just talking with them,” volunteer Rick Peargin said last week while preparing for guests at Vineyard Fellowship, where the homeless shelter shared by six local churches was located last week.

Peargin, a Hood River city public works employee, said he first encountered Warming Sbelter last winter while running the snowplow, when he saw the sign outside Emmanuel Lutheran Church.

“I just knew I had to serve,” Peargin said. “It was the Lord’s calling.”

Coffees, food, and a mattress and a sleeping bag are all provided for anyone who showse up and asks for a place to sleep. Volunteers work three-hour shifts so someone is always awake.

Sometimes the volunteers go looking for the guests.

On Dec. 3, the second shelter night this season, Hood River Hotel called that week’s site coordinator, Natalie Kardol, and said a man had gotten off the Greyhound (the stop is a block away) and come in asking for the shelter, holding a brochure. Kardol gave him directions to the Hood River Alliance Church, and said the shelter would be open.

That was at 2:15 a.m. No one had shown up earlier, so the volunteers were sent home.

“I called the volunteers and they came back down,” Kardol said.

By 3 a.m. the man still had not shown, so Kardol and one of the two volunteers got in their cars and went looking for him,

“We drove around, and didn’t see him anywhere, but then at 3:30, one of the volunteers ran into him on May Street,” Kardol said. “He was lost, and didn’t know where he was,”

The volunteers welcomed the man, and two stayed there with him until the shelter’s normal closing time of 7 a.m.


The shelter, now in its fourth year, remains open every night through mid-March.. Typically this year the number of guests ranges from 4-10 per night.

Emmanuel Lutheran has the week of Dec. 23-30.

In addition to food and a warm place, guests can watch movies and play games, and provisions are made for showers and laundry.

If you would like to learn more, go to the website

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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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