Taste local fare for SMART on Feb. 22

Local food and drink and a silent auction will highlight the first “SMART Sip,” a benefit for the Start Making A Reader Today (SMART) literacy programs in Hood River and Wasco counties.

Hood River Hotel, Oak and First streets, hosts the Feb. 22 event from 6-8 p.m.


Admission is $20 at the door or register online at smart.ejoinme.org.... Also on sale will be book packets for SMART programs to give to participating readers.

The Sip is SMART’s only fundraiser of the year, and all proceeds go to support a program that brings volunteer readers into schools and Head Start facilities for weekly reading sessions with children ages 4-8.

Sip replaces the Tongue Twister Tournament, held the past seven years, and this year supports the reading programs in Hood River County Schools and Dry Hollow and Colonel Wright in The Dalles.

The event is all-ages, and provides non-alcoholic beverages, including kombucha from Gorge Kitchen and Ice Cream and Ryan’s Juice.

“We have created an event this year as a way to give community members a new way to connect with each other for SMART,” said Kirby Neumann-Rea, SMART county leadership council president. He said, “The Sip will showcase some of the great food and beverages created in Hood River County and create more of a social occasion. We truly appreciate the kindness of the business donors.”

Confirmed providers include Broder Ost, Celilo, Ahi’s Ohana, Columbia Gluten Free Bakery, Cody Orchards, Boda’s Kitchen, Stave and Stone, Hood River Winery, Mylan Wines, Double Mountain, Solera, Full Sail, pFriem, Ferment, Slopeswell, and Crush Cider Café.

This year’s auction includes an unusual and personal donation, one geared specifically for an event supporting a literacy program: Dr. Sherene Suchy, formerly of Hood River, has donated some vintage books for youth and adults from her family collection.

Suchy, a volunteer reader for SMART for several years and has financially supported SMART fundraisers for years, now lives in Canberra, Australia.

The auction will include donated items and gift certificates from Hood River Hotel, Mt. Hood Meadows, Maryhill Winery, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center (family day pass) and passes from Mt. Hood Railroad. Other donors are Dog River Coffee, Shortt Supply, G. Willikers Toy Shoppe, Print It/Sign Media, Cody Orchards, Stave and Stone, and Full Sail.

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