How to help during the holidays

Wells Fargo bank branches throughout Oregon and S.W. Washington are helping out those in need by collecting donations of food and toys this month.

All of the donations made at each branch will stay in the community where they were given to support local residents.

The company’s annual toy drive in Oregon and southwest. Washington is taking place now through Friday, Dec. 15. Members of the public are welcome to drop off a new, unwrapped toy at any Wells Fargo branch. Wells Fargo will give the donated toys to local nonprofits for distribution to children from low- and moderate-income families. All of the non-perishable food collected from the public will be donated to local nonprofit groups.

The Next Door, Inc.

The Next Door, Inc., has partnered with local businesses to help raise funds this holiday season:

G. Williker’s is offering gift wrapping with a donation to The Next Door, with proceeds going to The Next Door’s youth mentoring programs Big Brothers Big Sisters and Mentor For Success. These programs provide adult volunteer mentors to youth ages 6 to 20 in need of a positive role model.

Hood River Trees, 3974 Portland Drive, will donate a portion of the proceeds from u-cut or we-cut Christmas trees Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Everybody’s Brewing in White Salmon will donate 10 percent of its sales to The Next Door on Wednesday, Dec. 13.

There are also plenty of volunteering opportunities, including helping with tree sales and sending annual holiday appeal letters. For more information, contact Justine Ziegler, development officer, at 541-436-0304.

More information can also be found at

Donations for Native Americans

Lana Jack, Celilo Wyam tribal member, and Dale Walker, owner of Secure Storage, are once again collecting donations for Native Americans in the Gorge this holiday season. Winter items, such as clothes, boots, shoes, blankets and sleeping bags, as well as tarps, are particularly needed, and can be dropped off at the storage facility, located at 1400 Tucker Road (next to Nobi’s), Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the past, donations of candles, ropes, batteries, gas and propane vouchers, towels and boxed and canned food items were also collected. Donations will go to children and adults of both sexes.

Hood River Valley Adult Center

Amy Mallett, executive director of the Hood River Valley Adult Center, said donations towards the Meals on Wheels program — checks should be made out to Hood River Valley Adult Center Meals on Wheels — are always needed. Every $5 donation provides one hot meal to a senior.

Donations of regular drip coffee, boxes of cake mixes (three of the same kind makes one tray of cake), warm socks, and cash and carry gift cards are also helpful. Stop by the center at 2010 Sterling Place, or call 541-386-2060 for more information.

FISH Food Bank commemorative brick

Purchase a commemorative brick to support the FISH Food Bank this holiday season. Bricks will line the entryway to the Hood River FISH Food Bank site, and can honor loved ones or special friends, recognize an organization, share an inspirational thought, or show support of FISH. Purchases help support the mission of FISH to supply nutritious food to Hood River County residents in need of help. Orders will be taken until Jan. 15.

The application form can be found online at

‘Warming the Gorge’

Warm, handknit or crocheted items are being collected at Knot Another Hat for local warming shelters in Hood River and The Dalles, as well as for The Next Door, Helping Hands, and the people of Cascade Locks. Items, grouped by need, preferably in washable wool or another washable fiber, are as follows:

Hood River Warming Shelter: Warm items for men.

The Dalles Warming Place: Hats and mittens for men and women.

The Next Door: Handknit baby items and any sized child items.

Helping Hands Women’s Shelter: Prayer shawls. You don’t necessarily need to pray. Essentially a prayer shawl is a scarf or shawl where thoughts of hope and healing are said or thought while making the item. Those thoughts are embedded in the garment and will help those who wear it through a tough time.

City of Cascade Locks: Warm items for men, women, and children to include in FISH food baskets.

Bring items to Knot Another Hat any time until Dec. 17.

Warming Shelter

Hood River Warming Shelter, a service of Hood River Shelter Services ( is open nightly at Riverside Community Church in Hood River. For questions about volunteering and donating items, email Warm goods are needed, including gloves and sleeping bags.

Each overnight stay contains three shifts: 5-7 a.m. (wakeup, checkout and cleanup), 5:45-10:15 p.m. (setup, intake and service), and 10:15 p.m. to 5:15 a.m. (evening prep and overnight watch).

Returning volunteers are asked to sign up for their first shifts at the email above, or if they have not yet received the scheduling link.

For those who wish to donate physical items, the shelter is always in need of heavy winter gloves and sleeping bags, she said. Email to arrange for pickup or drop-off.

The shelter also needs volunteers to sign up for the Laundry Love program. Coins and laundry detergent — and about three hours a week once a month — are needed.

Laundry Love Coordinator Alicia Speidel explained that volunteers meet Warming Shelter guests at the laundromat at a designated time with quarters and detergent so guests can do laundry.

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