Originally published November 9, 2016 at midnight, updated November 9, 2016 at midnight
Registration for the 2016 Hood River County Christmas Project will continue for families in need through Dec. 3.
According to organizers, this year will mark the 94th year of the project. It was originally started in 1923, by the local Elks Club, to provide assistance with food and children’s gifts, during the Christmas holiday.
The program may benefit many Hood River County families that are currently receiving State of Oregon Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, or who have a Women, Infant, and Children (WIC card), or who are enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan (OHP card).
Families wishing to apply will need to bring proof of eligibility and residency. Last year, approximately 529 families (over 2,100 men, women, and children) registered and received support.
Christmas Project applications will be taken at the following locations and dates:
Cascade Locks — The Cascade Locks City Hall (FISH Food Bank) on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Hood River — Oregon Department of Human Services, 1610 9th Ct. on the Heights off Pacific Avenue, on:
• Fridays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 18 and Dec.2.
• Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 12, 19, and Dec. 3.
Odell — Odell Food Bank, 3440 Odell Highway from 3:30-6 p.m. on Thursdays, Nov. 10 and Dec. 1
Parkdale — Parkdale Community Church during Food Bank hours (4-6 p.m.) on Monday, Nov. 2.
Applicants can sign up at whichever location is most convenient for them.
The Christmas Project is a volunteer driven program. Coordinated by a volunteer board, approximately 300 local volunteers assist each year to make the program work. Volunteers help to register clients, organize canned food drives, sponsor families, pack toy bags and food boxes, deliver boxes to seniors and people with disabilities, and distribute the boxes to families on their scheduled pick up dates.
Again this year, the Hood River County Fairgrounds has offered their facilities for food/toy packing and distribution of the Christmas baskets to the families. Hood River, Odell, Pine Grove, and Parkdale recipients will need to come to the Community Building this year, on Dec. 16 and 17, from 1-6 p.m. to pick up their baskets.
Cascade Locks recipients will need to pick up their baskets at Cascade Locks City Hall (FISH) on Dec. 16, from 1 to 4 p.m. Hood River, Odell, Pine Grove, and Parkdale seniors and people with disabilities, baskets will be delivered to their residence on Saturday Dec. 17.
Ways to help support The 2016 Christmas Project:
• The main fundraiser for the Christmas Project this year is the 20th Annual Gala Fashion Show, scheduled for Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn Gorge Room. The audience is invited to bring a gift — an unwrapped gift for a child to the event. Tickets are on sale now at participating stores for $25: Ananas Boutique, Columbia Gorge Dance Academy, Doug’s Sports, Dream Street, Enchanted Alpaca, Flow Yoga, Footwise, Columbia Center for the Arts, and Best Western Plus Hood River Inn.
• 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
Hood River News
Hood River Sports Club
Orchard Lanes Bowling
Print It/Sign Media
Washington Federal Savings
• 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).
If you would like more information on how to get involved or sponsor a family in need, visit www.hoodriver countychristmasproject.com.