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?


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.  

Christmas Project 2018.jpg

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 2019, we registered 470 families who received a food box matched to their family size.  More than 850 children were remembered on Christmas through the project as well.  Kids younger than 13 received toys appropriate for their age, while teens got a variety of gift cards, often donated by local businesses.  

Tree of Joy gifts

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,  hold a "wrapping party," and then deliver the gifts back to the agencies caring for that person or child.


Help Out in 2020!

In 2020, we need YOUR help more than ever.  The need in Hood River County is the greatest it has ever been, as the economic, health, and fire crisis causes pain.   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.  Your donation can still help!

2020 is a year like no other.  The social distancing and other issues around Covid-19 mean we're making some changes to our Christmas "basket."  But we are committed to bring food and gifts and joy to families who need a hand this  Christmas.  We hope you will join us in helping.  

As of December 19th, close to 900 families had been registered for food aid, with gift cards for families with children.  We deeply appreciate the volunteers and donors who have helped make it possible for us to help so many during this Christmas season.