Giving has taken on epidemic proportions as area individuals, organizations and businesses found ways to help brighten the holiday season for others.
In addition to being the recipients of good cheer from bikers during the 15th annual Echo Toy Run, Good Shepherd Health Care System held the 12 Days of Giving. Also, Tom Denchel Ford Country cruised in with Days of Christmas and a local radio station provided a double shot to coffee lovers.
Laundry bins were overflowing at Good Shepherd earlier this month — however, the housekeeping department wasn’t behind. During the toy run, 110 motorcycles and five vehicles delivered toys to the Hermiston hospital, which filled several of the large containers.
Due to the generosity of the leather-clad Santas, there were enough gifts to share with Hermiston Police Christmas Express, said Kelly Sanders, Good Shepherd’s vice president of human resources. Also, there are plenty to give to kids throughout the year to lift their spirits while at the hospital.
Al Sells continues to ensure his place on Santa’s “nice list” by coordinating the effort, which was started by former owners of the Echo Saloon. The Stanfield man calls it “the greatest day of the year.”
Recently wrapping up its 12 Days of Giving campaign, Good Shepherd’s goal was to collect 2,000 items, said Devin Goldman, assistant quality manager. The Nov. 26 to Dec. 7 effort resulted in 3,617 items — more than doubling what was collected in the past two years combined.
Everything from diapers, non-perishable food items and books to personal care products, pet supplies and clothing were distributed to nearly a dozen organizations. Those benefiting from the contributions include Eastern Oregon Mission (Agape House and Martha’s House), Domestic Violence Services, Clearview Disability Resource Center’s Medical Loan Closet, Eastern Oregon Humane Society-Pet Rescue, Umatilla-Morrow Head Start’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Desert Rose Ministries, iCan Bike, Hermiston Warming Station, Hermiston Police Christmas Express, Stanfield Food Basket and friends of the library groups in Hermiston, Umatilla and Stanfield.
To encourage shopping local, Tom Denchel gave away gift cards to area businesses.
Also, while revving up Christmas cheer, the dealership asked people to post an animated photo on Facebook reflecting their holiday spirit — a sort of GIFs for gift cards.
Saul Esquivel of Stanfield received a handful of gift cards as winner of the final drawing. Other winners were Lexi Gustafson, Beth Thelander-Darlington, Amber Ruiz-Burleson, Jamie Morales, Emilie Stockton, Eilleen Leighton Moore, Stacy Armentrout Skinner, Timmy Clark, Alyssa McLeod, Shawn Lorraine, Johnnie McQuilkin, Sheri Verley, Amy Jo Young, Angelica Torres, Shelly Wiederich, Misty Gutierrez, Katie Stahl, Casandra Whetsler, Kandi Conerd and Randy Akers.
Also, Hermiston residents Reina Stone and Raechel Bennett will enjoy their favorite coffee drinks thanks to KOHU-KQFM. The giveaway brewed a lot of excitement as nearly 100 people revealed their favorite coffee drink in hopes of winning a full punch card from Java Junkies in Umatilla.
Stone said her favorite was a toss-up between one with chocolate, caramel and hazelnut; or one with white chocolate, caramel, English toffee and toasted marshmallow. Bennett went with the ‘Snickers’ with whip.
Whether it’s hot drinks or warm hearts, the spirit of giving is thriving in and around Hermiston.
“It’s fantastic to be able to give back to our community,” Goldman said.