Hood River County residents now have the opportunity to mark important dates for their own families — while helping those less fortunate.
Five hundred copies of a limited-edition 2003 Community Calendar will be hot off the press on Friday and sold at Franz Hardware, Hi-School Pharmacy and Wal-Mart. The proceeds from the Hood River Police Department’s 12 most memorable local photos of 2002 will be used to support the Sunshine Division’s “Ray of Hope” program.
For example, Hood River Lieutenant Jerry Brown said 68 people in 20 area families were given Christmas presents and food through the annual Toys for Tickets diversion program that falls under the “Ray of Hope” program. He said this year monies have also been used to provide gas, food and lodging to stranded travelers and buy coats and shoes for needy school children.
“By buying this keepsake calendar you can not only remember highlights of 2002 but help those in need,” said Brown.
He said if there is a strong showing of support by sponsors and citizens for the calendar it will be expanded next year. These plans include a listing of upcoming events for 2004 and the complete school schedule in 2005.
“Our goal is to create an annual calendar that will provide all the information people need to plan for vacations and other special events,” Brown said.
He said by helping the Sunshine Division coffers grow, citizens will enable the city’s Community Policing program to expand and better serve any needs identified in area schools and neighborhoods.
“The only thing that can hinder our ability to help others is the community’s willingness to give,” Brown said.
Most of the special funding is disbursed through the recommendation of Community Resource Office Aaron Jubitz and School Resource Officer Tiffany Hicks, who were hired in 2001 with special federal grant funds to help strengthen the working relationship between law enforcement and local communities.
During their diverse duties, both Hicks and Jubitz interact daily with people of all ages and have repeatedly observed that many area children and adults are working hard to better their lives in spite of daunting economic challenges.
Brown, who oversees the Sunshine Division programs, is hopeful that in 2004 the network created by Hicks and Jubitz will grow and be able to serve even more citizens. He said that hope is fueled by the recent donation of $5,000 from Safeway which was raised through donation containers and other fundraisers during the past year. Brown said that generosity follows the donation of two vehicles for Jubitz’ and Hicks’ use early this year by Cliff Smith Motors, Hood River Dodge and Hood River Ford-Mercury dealerships. These automobiles were outfitted with new wheels compliments of Les Schwab Tire Center.
“This is the true meaning of Community Policing — businesses, residents and law enforcement officials working together to make their town a better place to live,” said Brown.