Christmas Project: The time to help is now

Christmas is just around the corner, one of those corners the needy among us will have to be cutting.

The time has come to help Hood River Christmas Project, which provides food and toys to the less fortunate families and seniors in our midst.

It all comes about just as the expanded Thanksgiving shopping rush goes by. The addition of more and more shopping days on and around Thanksgiving can be looked upon this way: all the more days the needy in our community will not be able to afford luxuries.

(Merchants’ desire to thrive, or even survive, in this economy is understandable, and people are at liberty to choose when and where to shop, but if we have to open our stores on Thanksgiving Day do we have to call it “Gray Thursday?”)

See page A5 for full information on Christmas Project and how to either help or access the program. (Just three days remain to register for food and toy baskets.)

Every year, organizations and individuals in the community truly come together to help the project; no doubt this year will be no different. But the best way to approach it is a large number of people making small contributions. Please do what you can; donation barrels are located at businesses throughout the county.

If you can’t help financially, the committee is looking for people to help with food sorting, deliveries on Dec. 21, and other aspects of the project.

On a related note, you could attend another of the community’s best Christmas traditions by attending the Dec. 14-15 Scenes from The Nutcracker, at the same time helping the FISH food bank and Providence Hospice of the Gorge. Admission is a donation of food for the program.

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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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