Our Story

Yesterday and Today in Hood River County

Since 1923, families in need have received help at Christmas in Hood River County.  Will you join us this year?

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Caring For Others Since 1923

Our mission is to provide assistance with food and children's gifts during the Christmas holiday season to families and seniors in need living in Hood River County. These efforts help alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity during a significant time of the year.  

Since 1923, caring neighbors in Hood River County have joined together to raise funds to buy food and gifts for those in need at Christmas.  The local Elks lodge began the tradition in 1923, and by 2019, more than 300 volunteers and dozens of local businesses work to bring joy to seniors, families in need, and kids in foster care.  

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Food and Gifts for Families

For most of our families, the Christmas Project helps relieve some of the stress associated with the Christmas holiday, when family members' expectations are at their highest.  There are also a number of families where the Christmas Project's food and toys are just about the only items on the table and underneath the tree.

In 2020, in the first Covid-19 winter, we registered 891 local families who received a food gift card appropriate for their family size.  About 2,000 children were remembered on Christmas through the project as well with gift cards to help their families purchase something for them. 

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Tree of Joy

Another part of the annual Christmas Project story is the Tree of Joy. The Tree of Joy assembles a "wish list" from seniors in need and foster kids in the county.  Local businesses and individual donors then take "wish tag" and make that wish come true by buying new, unwrapped gifts for the person they are supporting.  Volunteers from the Christmas Project gather all the gifts and then deliver the gifts back to the agencies caring for that person or child.

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Help Out in 2021!

In 2021, we need YOUR help more than ever.  We are grateful to know that whether you live in Hood River year-round, or join us for part of the year, that a community of caring will get us through this time.  In 2019 we helped 471 families - and in 2020 that number rose to 891 families.  The Christmas Project team is entirely volunteer-managed.  We have no paid employees. Your donation goes only to support the Christmas Project work.

2020 was a year like no other, but with the support of the Hood River County community, and grants from local, state, and national organizations, we served almost 900 households, along with close to additional foster 140 kids and seniors isolated in local care centers.

In 2021 we still will rely mostly on providing food and gift cards, but will distribute them in person.  Volunteers will be needed to help with this.  Do you have experience in helping with some of the vaccination events or other large registration events?  Please reach out t us - we'd love your help!