Donate to nonprofits in Camas, Washougal this holiday season

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Nov. 27 is “Giving Tuesday,” a global day of giving that kicks off an entire month of donating to charitable organizations around the world. In the Camas-Washougal area, there are many nonprofit organizations hoping residents will open their hearts — and wallets — during this holiday season of giving.

Below, we have highlighted a few local organizations that could use some extra love this year:

Meals on Wheels seeks volunteers, ‘bad weather’ drivers

The Meals on Wheels People delivers meals to homebound seniors age 60 and older, and provides lunches at several area locations, including the Washougal Community Center.

The organization helps area seniors “age in place,” or remain living independently as they grow older. According to Meals on Wheels, “aging in place” is known to reduce depression, falls and hospitalizations and lower the high cost of institutional care.

Hannah Mae Crum receives Meals on Wheels lunches at her Washougal home.

“I surely appreciate this service,” she told Janice Butzke, manager of The Meals on Wheels People Camas-Washougal, and Kris Isaacson, a new Meals on Wheels floor manager, after they delivered chicken stroganoff to her home on Nov. 8. “Cooking for one person is the pits.”

Butzke said it costs $7.39 for Meals on Wheels to produce each meal. The recipients are asked to donate an amount they can afford for the microwave-ready lunches, which often are delivered to seniors’ homes by volunteers.

For homebound seniors, inclement weather could mean the difference between eating and going hungry. That’s because many volunteer drivers can’t deliver meals during severe ice and snow storms. Meals on Wheels tries to anticipate this need by dropping off two shelf-stable meals before the winter weather hits.

For housebound Camas-Washougal residents who rely on their Meals on Wheels, having access to meals after their two-day shelf-stable supply runs out is crucial. Meals on Wheels is currently looking for volunteers willing to become a pre-approved emergency weather drivers. Those drivers would bring food to homebound elderly residents who are completely without food during winter weather emergencies. The drivers must pass a background check. People interested in becoming a “bad weather driver” for Meals on Wheels should register at volunteer.mowp.org or call Catie at 503-953-8101.

The Meals on Wheels People provides lunches at 11:30 a.m., Monday through Thursday, at the Washougal Community Center, 1681 “C” St., Washougal. Vegetarian options are available, along with soft salads for people who have difficulty chewing.

Ed Dimodica, of Vancouver, takes a C-VAN bus to eat the Meals on Wheels lunches three days a week in Washougal, where he said he has enjoyed good company, good food and good music.

“Meals on Wheels is a truly great organization,” Dimodica said.

Butzke said the seniors thrive on fellowship and socialization. Butzke is seeking volunteers who can greet customers for two hours at the entrances to New Seasons Market and Chuck’s Produce, and tell them about the opportunity to “donate dinner” for senior citizens when they shop at either of the markets. The volunteers are needed to talk to customers Saturday, Nov. 17, through Wednesday, Nov. 21.

For more information, call 360-210-5666, email janice.butzke@mowp.org or visit donatedinner.org.

Help make holidays happier for animals at Washougal shelter

The Washougal-based West Columbia Gorge Humane Society has developed a holiday “wish list” for the dogs and cats awaiting adoption in the shelter.

The cats would enjoy treats, toys and beds, as well as free-standing scratchers, breakaway collars and kitty litter. The dogs at the shelter would like Nylabones, bully sticks, grain-free doggie treats and indestructible chew toys.

The local humane society also accepts donations of printer paper, laundry detergent, large garbage bags, paper towels and store and Visa gift cards.

The items can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Saturday, at the cat shelter, 2675 S. Index St., Washougal, or the dog shelter, 2695 S. Index St., Washougal. For more information, call 360-835-3464 (cat shelter) or 360-335-0941 (dog shelter), email info@wcghs.org or visit wcghs.org/donate/.

Community Chest keeps donations local

When it comes to helping the community, there is nothing quite like the Camas-Washougal Community Chest.

Now entering its 2019 grant cycle, the 72-year-old nonprofit, grant-funding organization has been directly impacting generations of Camas-Washougal folks for more than seven decades.

The Community Chest group recently launched its fundraising drive with a goal of collecting $100,000 for the 2019 grant-funding cycle.

In 2018, the Community Chest funded $83,350 worth of grants and helped 23 nonprofits fund programs that benefited Camas-Washougal families in need by serving nearly 4,000 meals at the Lost and Found Cafe, sending 170 students home with weekend food boxes, providing safe housing for 15 at-risk youth from Camas and Washougal, giving supplies to 60 low-income students through the Principal’s Checkbook Fund, supporting 2,740 local youth through the Camas and Washougal libraries’ summer reading programs and awarding Campership Awards to help low-income families send their children to summer Boy Scouts of America camps.

The Community Chest’s biggest grant typically goes to the Inter-Faith Treasure House to help fund emergency and daily food needs, provide emergency rental and utility funds to families in need and pay for school supplies and the school backpack program to help low-income children in Camas and Washougal.

The Children’s Home Society’s East County Family Resource Center, which helps low-income families in the Washougal area, also is one of the Community Chest’s main grant recipients. In 2018, the Resource Center’s grant helped 2,500 families.

In November, the Community Chest will begin collecting grant proposals for its 2019 grant cycle. Those grants will be announced in March 2019.

First, however, the organization needs to have enough donations to fund its annual grants.

“Giving to the Community Chest is an easy and efficient way to help people in need in our hometown,” said Community Chest President Dave Pinkernell.

Individuals and businesses can donate online at CamasWashougalCommunityChest.org, or by participating in Fred Meyer’s Community Rewards or Amazon’s Smile programs.

Gift the Gorge

A $35 donation to the Friends of the Columbia Gorge will cover the cost of sending one Washougal sixth-grader to the annual “Explore the Gorge” outdoor school. Each $35 donor will receive a one-year membership with the Friends of the Columbia Gorge and a waterproof National Geographic map of the Columbia River Gorge.

Area residents can also give Friends of the Columbia Gorge memberships to others. A $35 donation will cover a one-year membership. Membership benefits include access to more than 50 member-only hikes, as well as early registration for all other hikes.

To donate, visit gorgefriends.org/ways-to-give/become-a-member.html or gorgefriends.org/ways-to-give/gift-membership.html.

Donations can also be made by phone by calling 971-634-0323 or mail a donation to Friends of the Columbia Gorge, 333 S.W. Fifth Ave., Ste. 300, Portland, OR 97204.

For a gift membership, donors should include their name and email address, as well as the gift recipient’s contact information and mailing address, with a check.

‘Camas Spirit’ ornaments help recent Camas grads

Camas School District (CSD) secretaries are selling Camas Spirit ornaments for $10 each. The proceeds will go to college and trade school scholarships for CSD graduates.

Ornaments will be available to purchase from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7, at Caffe Piccolo, 400 N.E. Fourth Ave., in downtown Camas.

Give gift of art

The Washougal Arts and Culture Alliance (WACA) is accepting donations to complete the purchase of a bear sculpture by artist Heather Soderberg-Green.

WACA Board Member Rene Carroll said the alliance is seeking $15,000 to complete the purchase of the $30,000 bear. It has not been determined where the bronze sculpture will be located.

WACA memberships are available, and cost $25 for individuals and $35 for families. For more information, visit washougalarts.org.

Earmark donations to Camas Farmer’s Market

Donations to the Camas Farmer’s Market can be designated for Healthy Living sponsorship.

The Market’s Program Coordinator Tina Eifert said the market hosts cooking, health and wellness demonstrations and activities to help community members make choices that “allow them to live their best life.”

The market, located between the Camas Public Library and Camas City Hall in downtown Camas, is open Wednesday afternoons, from June to October.

Eifert said a donation to the Camas Farmer’s Market’s “Kids Connection” booth helps pay for art supplies and equipment rentals, to expand community art collaboratives for children attending the market.

During the 2018 market season, children participated in collaborative art projects, and those finished pieces were raffled off in October. For more information about donating to the Camas Farmer’s Market, visit camasfarmersmarket.org.