Warmth and Comfort: Christmas Project, other efforts at giving draw big responses

People came through for other people.

While the need for giving is a year-round one, the late-fall “crunch time” for social service and community assistance groups is the annual reality.

For Hood River Christmas Project and other efforts, the community has risen to the occasion again. Volunteers responded well, and local merchants as well as individual donors ponied up plenty of food and toys.

Seeing the joy as a little girl takes possession of her first bicycle (photo, page A1) was one of those truly uplifting moments that often come this time of year.

Local knitters (page A10) pulled together a large donation of handmade goods that will go far in giving warm and comfort to many people in need.

These are just a few examples of the ways people respond when they know others have less, and we have certainly seen it in local terms.

Groups such as FISH, Helping Hands Against Violence, and Hood River Shelter Services require sustained, if not year-round assistance, however.

The holidays are a time when we as community members can set an example for ourselves to hold in our hearts people in need with every turn of the calendar page.

Safety nets in society are not likely to increase; they are going to become thinner, or disappear in some places and for some elements of the community.

Now, and next month and the month after that, is the time to keep part of our focus on filling the gaps that do not arrive and depart because it is Christmastime.

For those interested in continuing their giving, local groups are still in need of donations of funds and in-kind donations from socks to peanut butter. See page A5 for our current “How to Help” listing.

In addition, Hood River News offers updated copies of “12 Columns of Christmas,” our collection of Christmas editorials from 2001-2012. The editorials attempt to impart the spirit of compassion and giving found in a wide range of literature and media both recent and more distant in time. The booklets are available at Hood River News, 490 State St., and via Shelter Services (hoodrivercares.org) for $5 or $40 for 10 copies. Call editor Kirby Neumann-Rea at 541-386-1234 if you have questions.

What’s updated is the information about Shelter Services, which has undergone a variety of changes in the past two years, including the hiring this year of a part-time coordinator, Laura Westmeyer. Training sessions are offered for people are interested in serving as shelter volunteers; email info@hoodrivercares.org.

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