ONTARIO

The Help Them To Hope annual holiday charity drive has started, but it won’t look the same as in previous years. Details of how it will pan out this year were discussed by the committee as they set down for the first time this season at Four Rivers Cultural Center on Tuesday morning.

This is the time of year that volunteers set out to collect food, toys and monetary donations for the nonprofit organization to be distributed to those in need during the Christmas holiday season in Oregon and Idaho. Collection boxes and cans will soon be posted in local stores and business, and there will changes in the various collections.

The first big drive locally for Help Them to Help has always been the Boy Scout Food Drive. However, Jan Partin, Scout representative, said because of COVID-19, scout troops have not been meeting and numbers are down. As such, there are not enough scouts to carry out the annual tradition. It was decided at Tuesday’s committee meeting to have a community food drives in local towns, with non-perishable food times dropped off at local grocery stores. The date has been set for Nov. 14 and locations will be announced once they are confirmed.

Another food drive for the charity drive has been organized by local schools, which in recent years had been turned into a competition between schools. However, with some schools only partially in session and some school not in session at all, there is uncertainty on how the drive is place.

One ongoing issue has been the location where the donated food and other items are collected and then sent out from on delivery day, which this year will be Dec. 17.

While some locations have been long-term, some have been year-to-year for the nonprofit, if landlords can get a paying tenant. Last year Help Them To Hope did pay part of the cost for its space south of Fruitland.

At least 10,000 square feet is needed to house the donated goods, but space upward of 15,000 square feet is preferred.

Applications for the food and/or toy boxes will be available after Oct. 1, with applications due by Dec. 4 to allow time for the boxes to be prepared.

Applications for prospective recipients are available at WICAP locations in Payette and Weiser, the Oregon Department of Human Services in Ontario and local food pantries.

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