A community fundraising drive is underway to fill the coffers of the Hood River City Police Department's Sunshine Division.
On April 12 the "Ray of Hope" program will be one of the beneficiaries from the 5th annual Delta Kappa Spring Auction. Both a silent and oral auction follows a "Putt'n on the Ritz" evening of food and fun that begins at 6 p.m. in the Hood River Elks Club.
Auction items include a two-night stay in Sunriver, Seahawk tickets, an excursion on the Mt. Hood Railroad, baked goods, gift certificates and a night on the town package. Door prizes will also be given away and raffle tickets will be sold for a 25-inch color television.
Prior to the auction, a buffet dinner with a variety of selections will be served and tickets ($10) should be purchased by April 8 from Waucoma books or Delta Kappa members. A limited number will also be available at the door.
Other recipients of the auction proceeds will be Hospice of the Gorge and the Hood River High School Scholarship Fund. For more information call Betty Draper at 386-1018.
The new Sunshine Division will also benefit from hot dogs and root beer float sales at Safeway that begin during the last weekend in April and continue on weekends through the summer months. The local grocery store will also sponsor a "Ray of Hope" golf tournament sometime in August.
Lieutenant Jerry Brown said more than $900 has been raised since collection containers were placed in area businesses at the start of the year. These funds are being used to give area residents, and sometimes visitors, a one-time boost toward overcoming financial obstacles. He said the money is turned over confidentially to individuals of all ages who are already seeking to better their quality of life.
"We're trying to fill in the gaps and augment other programs but we're not trying to take the place of any other service," said Brown.
Most of the referrals for expenditures are made by Community Resource Office Aaron Jubitz and School Resource Officer Tiffany Hicks. Brown said since these officers are regularly circulating among residents and students they are more privy to local needs.
But Brown said the new program allows flexibility and a small amount of money was given to a stranded motorist and additional funds used to buy clothing for an at-risk teenager.
"If you spend $100 and have even a 10 percent chance of that child changing his direction it's going to save a whole lot more money than if somebody doesn't intervene," said Brown.