Gifts of meaning: New ways of seasonal giving

Plenty of businesses got on board Dec.11 for the Hood River Chamber of Commerce’s first Holiday Giving promotion.

The day, and the event, have passed, but not the opportunities to give.

Recipients included FISH, May Street Elementary, Meals on Wheels, Hood River Warming Shelter, Helping Hands Against Violence, and New Parent Services. The idea of buying board books for young children who are clients of New Parents Services is not only timely and needed but a lot of fun: these are hands-on books that really do help instill a love of books in our youngest future readers.

Recent studies of adolescent and teen readers show that they actually prefer conventional paper books to electronic ones. New Parent Services and their business sponsors are onto something in making this effort a focus this year. (Taco del Mar in Hood River and Washington Federal Savings in The Dalles are collection sites, along with Waucoma Bookstore in Hood River. Board books are available at Waucoma and G. Williker’s Toy Shoppe in Hood River, and Klindt’s Booksellers in The Dalles.)

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Another innovative way to give this season is the United Way of the Columbia Gorge’s new “Meaningful Gifts” campaign; for donations of $10, $25 or $50, you can support youth literacy and nutrition, and family and senior nutrition programs by donating to United Way, on behalf of Next Door Inc., Meals on Wheels, Start Making A Reader Today, and FISH food banks.

A gift card will be sent to a family or loved one, describing your donation. Call United Way at 541-386-6100 for details on how to order.

Add these efforts to the food drives for FISH and Christmas Project that are in full swing, and it’s easy to see that the Hood River community is both a place with people in need as well as numerous, rewarding opportunities to help.

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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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