Warming Shelter volunteers sought, training offered

The Hood River Warming Shelter seeks to provide some of the most vulnerable in our community with a warm place to sleep, according to coordinating Pastor Linda Presley of Valley Christian Church.

“The shelter served 63 different guests last season,” said Presley. “In total, we filled beds 463 times with folks from our Gorge community and beyond, from older single men, to families with babies.”

The program offers an opportunity to access a warm shower to improve community members-in-need health and welfare.

With colder and wetter weather already arriving, the shelter, hosted by a rotation of churches, is preparing to reopen for the season on Dec. 2.

“Congregations have stepped forward to host our homeless. Our most pressing need is for volunteers,” said Presley. “We need the help of the community as volunteers to make sure that we are staffed.”

Volunteers would be asked to serve 4- to 5-hour shifts between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. in churches during the winter months. A short training program is required of those interested in volunteering and space is now available in those sessions.

Warming Shelter locations include Hood River Alliance, Riverside Community, The Vineyard, Immanuel Lutheran and the Church of the Nazarene. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church will be preparing dinner for guests throughout the program.

Each night three shifts are staffed with two people each (adults 18 or older) who have had training and have had background checks.

Each site has volunteer coordinators or teams that assure guests are treated respectfully and have what they need, and that volunteers have support as well.

“We understand that people who can’t volunteer would like to help,” said Presley. She suggests three additional needs that supporters can help fill: Food donations may be given to FISH or by contacting Rev. Anna Carmichael at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Clothing may be taken to Hood River Valley Christian Church Thrift Store where guests receive free clothing.

Monetary donations may be made through the organization’s website, hoodrivercares.org.

Training is required for all volunteers as well as a background check.

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This year three volunteer training sessions are planned in November:

n Nov. 7, 6:30-8 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church

n Nov. 8, 6:30-8 p.m. at Riverside Community Church

n Nov. 17, 9-10:30 a.m. at Vineyard Christian Fellowship.

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Visit hoodrivercares.org to learn more about Hood River Warming Shelter, issues surrounding homelessness, and how to help Gorge neighbors in need, or email hrws@hoodrivercares.org.

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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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