Hood River Christmas Project: How to give and receive

The Hood River Christmas Project provided holiday help to over 500 families in 2011 with hundreds of community members stepping up to offer that help.

Whether you may be in need or looking to offer a few hours of help to others, The Christmas Project has a place for you.

Baskets of food and toys are provided to qualifying families and seniors and signups for families and individuals seeking the holiday assistance are available now.

The 2012 food and children gifts distribution to the families will again be held at the Hood River County Fairgrounds in Odell (next to Wy’east middle school, 3000 Wy’east Road) Dec. 21 and 22 from 1-6 p.m.

Applicants can register at whichever location is most convenient for them. The registration application requests name, spouse name, address and phone number, and names, age and gender of children within the household, plus eligibility questions and documentation.

Each year, the Christmas Project also coordinates with the DHS caseworkers to mail out Christmas Project applications to their low-income seniors and people with disabilities. Volunteers deliver all senior and people with disabilities food/toy baskets. The approved families are mailed a printed receipt showing the date and time they can expect their basket to be delivered.

Locations for sign-ups:

n Cascade Locks — Cascade Locks City Hall, Nov. 28, 2-4 p.m.

n Hood River — Oregon Department of Human Services, 1610 Ninth Court on the Heights (off of Pacific Avenue), Fridays –Nov. 16 and 30 and Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or Saturdays, Nov. 17, Dec. 1 or 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

n Parkdale — Parkdale Community Church (food bank) during food bank hours (4-6 p.m.) Nov. 26

n Odell — Odell Food Bank, 3440 Odell Highway, 4-6 p.m. on Thursdays, Nov. 15 or Dec. 6.

New applicants must:

n Show proof of Hood River County residency (Oregon driver’s license, power bill, phone bill or rent receipt)

n Meet State of Oregon Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility standards (previously known as the food stamp program)

n Show proof of all children living within the home (Oregon Health Plan document, federal income tax papers, local school district report card). A WIC card or Oregon Health Plan document meets the program requirements.

n A recent pay stub can also help determine if you meet the State of Oregon low-income requirement.

If you have registered previously, a quick update of your file is all that is needed.

How to help:

Collecting and delivering food and gifts to 2,127 children, women and men in Hood River County last year required a coordinated effort from many individuals.

According to Bruce Holmson, president of the organization meeting that need, the sole purpose of the project is to provide assistance with holiday food and children’s gifts, during the Christmas holidays, to low-income families living within Hood River County.

Holmson says individuals may help in several important ways by:

n 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.

n Donating non-perishable food items for the Christmas food boxes. See the list of locations for drop boxes below.

n Donating new toys and teen-appropriate items for the children’s gift baskets.

n Attending the 16th annual Christmas Project Gala Fashion Show, Nov. 16, 7 p.m. at the Gorge Room of the Best Western Hood River Inn.

n Volunteering to help pack or deliver items. Coordinated by Kym Zanmiller, the project needs between 200 and 300 volunteers; now, for registration, and particularly during the Dec. 15-21 packing and distribution period.

For more information on how to get involved or sponsor a needy family, call Zanmiller at 541-399-6606 or visit www.hoodrivercountychristmasproject.com for more information.

n During November and December, the following businesses will have food and toy collection barrels where you may drop off items:

Alder Creek Kayak


CenterPointe Bank

Children’s Play Place

Columbia State Bank


Hood River Fire Dept.

HR Middle School

Hood River News

HR Sports Club

Horizon Christian


May Street Elementary


Naked Winery

Orchard Lanes

Print It / Sign Media



Wash. Federal Savings

Westside Elementary

Wy’east Middle School


Bilingual Christmas Project volunteers will be present during all registration hours.

There are three different food box sizes, depending of the number of people living within the household.

Each child 18 years and younger receives a Christmas present (toys, movie pass, etc.) based on age and gender.

The approved families are given a printed receipt showing the date, time and location to pick up their food/toy basket.

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Latest video:

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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