The listing we call "How to Help" grows longer all the time. It's a reflection of both local need and local compassion. This seasonal directory will appear again in our Weekend Edition, as local groups put out the call to donate items or funds to benefit the needy during the coming holidays, and at other times.
One of the more prominent such projects is the Hood River Christmas Project, which last year provided food and toys to 517 families in the county.
Signup dates are in full swing, and coordinator Bruce Holmson and others are gearing up to deliver holiday food and children's gift baskets one month from now.
Now is the time to consider adding your gifts to the project, as well as helping with other local giving efforts, some of which help locals and others serve global needs.
During November and December, businesses on west Cascade, the Heights, and downtown, will have food and toy collection barrels for Christmas Project. New toys and teen-appropriate items for the children's gift baskets are needed.
You can also help by contributing checks to the Christmas Project to help purchase food and gifts: Checks may be mailed to P.O. Box 872, Hood River, OR 97031. All donations are tax-deductible and letters will be mailed to donors.
Even if you cannot give of money or items, you can give your time by volunteering to help pack or deliver items. The project needs between 200 and 300 volunteers, particularly during Dec. 13-17.
If you can help, call Kym Zanmiller at 541-386-5153 or visit: www.hoodrivercountychristmasproject.com
Sponsors are also needed for families.
If you need help, these are the dates and locations for signing up for Christmas Project.
In Hood River: Oregon Department of Human Services, 1610 Ninth Court on the Heights (off of Pacific Ave.): Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In Parkdale: Parkdale Community Church during food bank hours Nov. 21, 4 to 6 p.m.
In Odell: Odell Food Bank, 3440 Odell Highway, Nov. 17, 4-6 p.m.
Applicants can sign up at whichever location is most convenient for them.
If you do go out and buy things for Christmas Project or other goodwill efforts, where can you shop?
Locally, of course.
"Supporting locally owned, independent businesses is in the best interest of Hood River-area residents - and residents throughout the Gorge - to help maintain our quality of life," reads a proclamation by Mayor Arthur Babitz for "GO! Local Week," Nov. 25-Dec. 4.
Hood River City Council passed the resolution, sponsored by Gorge Owned Business Network (GO!) at Monday's meeting.
It's good that local government is taking this step, but it underscores a common sense approach to things: we can help our neighbors in many ways, including supporting the stores and businesses that are owned by, and employ, local people.
Giving to local food banks and other projects is a good idea year-round, and so is buying