Last year more than 500 individuals sought a helping hand through the Hood River Emergency Voucher Program: About 200 of those were children.
The volunteer-run project provides applicants with vouchers to exchange for gasoline, hotel stays, food and bus tickets during short-term emergencies. The program is also often the first to offer house fire victims hotel stays along with the Red Cross.
To provide potential volunteers with a chance to learn about the program, an April 17 free training has be slated at the hospital, noon to 1:30 p.m.
“Volunteers would be asked to cover a two-hour shift every two to three weeks,” said Chaplain Mark Thomas. Volunteers will be trained in compassionate listening, needs assessment, boundaries as well as referring to local social service agencies, assist individuals in crisis.
“The majority of the volunteer training is really to help learn about local resources and where to refer people to,” said Thomas. The vouchers are truly a one-time opportunity and clients are assisted to seek help from other existing local agencies.
“All donations are tax deductible and we can guarantee that 100 percent of all funds donated to the project go directly to help those in need. We also never give cash to clients — only vouchers for the needed services.”
Anyone wishing to help continue the important work of the voucher program may send donations in care of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 400 11th St., Hood River, OR 97031.
For more information on training or donations contact Clinical Chaplain Maggie Sebastian at 541-387-6991.