Time to feed FISH

Food banks need donations as demand rises for the holidays

VO LUNTEERS Craig Terry  prepares for another day at the FISH Food Bank in Hood River. Community donations for the county’s four food banks are crucial this time of year.  Photos by  Adam Lapierre

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
VO LUNTEERS Craig Terry prepares for another day at the FISH Food Bank in Hood River. Community donations for the county’s four food banks are crucial this time of year. Photos by Adam Lapierre

The cupboards aren’t bare at FISH, at least not yet.

The stocks are getting low at the food banks of Hood River County, and the community’s help is needed as the demand for food takes its annual November spike.

How to help:

Non-perishable food can be donated anytime in a box at the Hood River site, 1907 Pine St., or 9-11 a.m. Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Call 541-386-3474 or email FISHinfo@gorge.net for details.

Cash donations can be sent to Becky Bugge, 3481 Ehrck Hill Road, Hood River.

Help is needed Nov. 20, 9 a.m., unloading the Oregon Food Bank truck, at the Hood River site.

“They are kind of bare. We’ll be okay. This happens every year, but things are getting kind of low right now,” said Lorinda Hoffman, Hood River food bank coordinator.

“But we have the food bags in grocery stores, and this is the time of year lots of food drives happen,” Hoffman said.

Food drives help but they are hard to predict until November.

“We really rely on those, but often they happen and we don’t know about them until the food shows up,” Hoffman said.

“The last weekend in October was really big,” in terms of demand, Hoffman said of the Hood River site. “And the biggest demand time of the year is always in the week just before Thanksgiving, and during the Christmas holidays.

“But until this time of year, there are very few food drives going on, so our supplies can get pretty low,” she said, adding that recent cutbacks in SNAP (food stamp) allotments have driven up need.

Last Saturday, 26 families came to the Hood River site, up from the average of 19.

Hoffman said the food bank in Cascade Locks, population 1,000, had 53 families come to get food last month.

Shoppers at Rosauers and Safeway can purchase $10 and $20 bags filled with pasta, canned goods, peanut butter, formula, and other regularly needed items. The purchased bags then stay at the store until FISH volunteers collect them for distribution to food bank clients.

The grocery bag donations contain known commodities, helping food bank coordinators place their Oregon Food Bank orders for other needed supplies.

Such local donations are critical at this stage, because the next delivery from Oregon Food Bank won’t be until Nov. 20.

Meanwhile, clients will come to the Hood River food bank, the largest of the four, on Nov. 8, 9, 11, 15, 16 and 18, and to Odell on Thursdays and Parkdale on Mondays.

(Food bank sites are open Monday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day.)

The Portland-based Oregon Food Bank is the source of much of the food distributed at Hood River, Odell, Parkdale and Cascade Locks food banks.

A food donation barrel is also available in front of the Hood River food bank site.

Pasta, stew, chili and soup are always needed, and donations of tuna and cooking oil — two of the more expensive staples — are particularly welcome.

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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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