Hood River County Christmas Project coordinator Bruce Holmson has announced registration dates for the upcoming 2014 holiday season. According to Holmson, the main purpose of the program is to provide assistance with holiday food and children’s gifts, during the Christmas holidays, to low-income families living within Hood River County.

The Christmas Project is available to Hood River County families meeting State of Oregon Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) standards (previously known as the food stamps), although they do not need to be presently receiving SNAP benefits. A Women, Infant, and Children (WIC card) or a Oregon Health Plan (OHP card) also meets the registration requirements. Families wishing to apply will need to bring proof of income and residency. Eligible children in the family must be living at home. Christmas Project applications will be taken again this year at the following locations:

In Cascade Locks, applications will be taken at The Cascade Locks City Hall – FISH Food Bank on Wednesday, Nov. 19, from 1 to 4 p.m.

In Hood River, applications are being taken at the Oregon Department of Human Services, 1610 9th Ct. on the Heights off of Pacific Avenue, on:

Applicants can sign up at whichever location is most convenient for them.

Last year, Holmson said the Christmas Project provided food and toys to approximately 500 families (over 2,000 men, women, and children) within Hood River County.

“We will continue to need the community’s help in money donations, toys, and food items, to make another successful year”. The main fundraiser for the Christmas Project this year is the 18th Annual Gala Fashion Show, scheduled for Nov. 7 (Friday) at the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn Gorge Room.

Insitu, Dakine, and Pistil are helping to sponsor the Gala again this year. In addition, a Hood River Lions grant will be used to help purchase new toys and a grant from the United Way of the Columbia Gorge will be used to add a variety of healthy, nutrient packed food items within each family’s food box. Many area churches, civic organizations, local schools, individuals and families participate by sponsoring families, or donating food, toys, and cash.

To contribute to the Christmas Project, checks may be mailed to PO Box 872, Hood River, OR 97031. All donations are tax-deductible (501 (c)(3) organization).

As always, the committee is looking for new people to help with family registration and directing or participating in various aspects of the project. If you feel you would like more information on how to get involved or sponsor a needy family visit www.hoodrivercountychristmasproject.com.

This year, the Hood River County Fairgrounds has again offered their facilities for distribution of the Christmas baskets to the families. Registered families will need to come to the Community Building this year, on December 19 and 20, from 1-6 p.m. to pick up their baskets.

During mid-November and December, the following businesses will have food and toy collection barrels for folks to drop off items:

Alder Creek Kayak and SUP, CenterPointe Community Bank, The Children’s Play Place, Columbia State Bank, Curves, Hood River Middle School, Hood River News, Hood River Sports Club, Horizon Christian School, Melika, Naked Winery, Orchard Lanes Bowling, Print It/Sign Media, Rosauers, Walmart, Washington Federal Savings, Westside School, Wy’east School.

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