Altrusa helps DVS help kids

Altrusans JoAn Hill (left) and Marilyn O'Gorman package gifts.

By Karen Hutchinson-Talaski

Staff writer

HERMISTON — Imagine being taken from your home in the middle of the night because your parents are involved in a domestic dispute or being arrested for drugs — with nothing but the clothes on your back to take to a foster home.

With their focus on kids in crisis, the Hermiston Altrusa Club used money they raised during their annual auction and filled 30 cloth bags with fleece blankets, books, brushes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo and lotion Monday night. All were donated to the Department of Human Services for children in crisis situations.

Altrusa Community Services chairwoman Edith Holt says without the generosity of those who purchase items at the auction, which is held each October, helping children in the community would not be possible.

"We just appreciate all the donations to our auction," Holt said. "It all goes back to the community."

The October auction raised $20,000. Some of the money was used to purchase $400 worth of gift certificates from Wal-Mart in $25 increments to be used for emergency needs for children in the Hermiston area.

Linda Olson, district manager for DHS, says the bags and money Altrusa gave her department is invaluable. Children come into foster care with virtually nothing and the bags will help tremendously.

"It's a wonderful thing they did," said Olson. "It is serving a great need in our community."

The bags are divided equally for both boys and girls and even broken up by age group.

Teens will receive items like lotion, hair gel and a journal, along with age-appropriate books, while the little ones receive a picture books and other items appropriate for their age.

The gift certificates will be used for special items that were not included in the bags, Olson said.

Karen Hutchinson-Talaski can be reached at ktalaski@hermistonherald.com.

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