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Community: Shelter Services gears up for season, Helping Hands hosts event

“Want to give useful items?” asked Bev Carpenter, a volunteer with Hood River Shelter Services.

She writes, “This year the Warming Shelter has a permanent home at Riverside Community Church for the entire four-month season. This is something we have all hoped for, not to load and unload bedding and other supplies on a weekly and sometimes daily basis is a real plus.

“Riverside has asked us to go as ‘green’ as possible. Since there is a dishwasher in the kitchen, we will be using melamine or Corel plates and bowls. The thrift store at Hood River Valley Christian Church has donated coffee mugs and silverware. Now 25 dinner plates, bread and butter (small) plates, and cereal bowls are needed.

“The forecast is for another severe winter. This means that we will need heavy, cold weather gloves and long johns for our guests. Your donations are appreciated as buying personal items for those we serve is discouraged.

“There is also the need for sleeping bags, as it takes about 20 sleeping bags to get through one week. Once a sleeping bag has been used, even for one night, it cannot be used for another person until it has been laundered. Often, we will have one or two new people a night, which means a clean sleeping bag for each new person.

“If you would like to donate any of these items, please contact me through our website or email bacarpenter@gorge.net. We will make arrangements for pick-ups and drop-offs.”

Two more volunteer training sessions have been scheduled as Hood River Shelter Services (HRSS) prepares for opening next month. Now in its eighth year and formerly known as the Warming Shelter, the program provides shelter, beds, meals and other services to the homeless from November through March. The sessions are Sunday, Nov. 12 from 2-4 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 13 from 6-8 p.m.

Trainings are held at Riverside Church, 317 State St., Hood River. Volunteers need to attend only one session.

The shelter requires 140 volunteers to operate each season, according to Director Laura Westmeyer, who was hired this summer as part-time HRSS director.

“This season, we are encouraging friends and colleagues to sign up together. Volunteers will be able to mutually request shifts to be paired together wherever possible,” Westmeyer said. “New volunteers are generally paired with experienced volunteers for their first shift. The training sessions are designed so that volunteers will understand shelter operations, learn how to successfully work with vulnerable populations, and hear from experienced volunteers. Volunteering for the shelter is a great way to take action and contribute to your community in a very real and meaningful way.”

On Friday, Nov. 10 from 6-9 p.m. at Springhouse Cellar Winery in Hood River, Helping Hands Against Violence hosts its annual auction gala.

“Helping Hands sits in gratitude: the fire has passed, the forest is alive, the air is clear, and our lives are normalizing,” writes Executive Director Stephanie Irving. “We are ready to celebrate our community’s resilience, and invite you to join us.

“As always, admission is free and open to everyone. Enjoy complimentary appetizers, live music by Alonzo Garbanzo, and an evening of fun. Pre-registration is not required — just come on by.”

The Oct. 5 Full Moon Fun Run attracted about 200 participants and raised almost $900 for the Hood River Middle School physical education program. The run from Mark Hatfield trailhead to Mosier Tunnels and back “was a great success,” writes teacher Stacy Claus, who asks people to keep the event in mind for next fall. (Full Moons will happen on Sept. 25 and Oct. 24, 2018.)



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