Last week, The Chronicle posted to Facebook seeking the community’s help in locating all of the “giving trees” that have been sprouting up in Columbia County, and boy … did the community respond.
This reporter spent the bulk of an entire afternoon calling various locations across the county, with each one excitedly offering information and tips about where other giving opportunities could be found. We feel quite certain this list is incomplete, and we will do our best to update the article’s online version at thechronicleonline.com as additional giving opportunities present themselves throughout the holiday.
It is no secret there are many in our community in need – from our children in foster care and our local senior citizens who may not have family nearby, to our four-legged friends in the pound – there is a Christmas to create in this list for each of them.
Suffice it to say, Columbia County has a big heart. Santa will have a lot of help this year in making sure everyone in our community has a very merry Christmas.
Scappoose Fire District and Columbia River Fire & Rescue:
The Scappoose Fire District has three giving trees set up in Scappoose in support of the agency’s ‘Share & Care’ program. They can be found inside Fred Meyer next to the jewelry store, at the Scappoose Smoke Shop and at Ichabod’s. Hosted by the Scappoose Volunteer Association, these trees support the Scappoose community. The deadline to donate gifts is Dec. 18.
• Fred Meyer: 51501 Columbia River Hwy, Scappoose, OR 97056
• Scappoose Smoke Shop: 52507 Columbia River Hwy, Scappoose, OR 97056
• Ichabod’s: 52049 Columbia River Hwy, Scappoose, OR 97056
Columbia River Fire & Rescue:
Columbia River Fire & Rescue has two trees set up in support of their annual ‘Toy N Joy’ program. Their trees can be found at the St. Helens Walmart and inside the Rainier Post Office. These trees support the communities within the agency’s district, from Rainier to Warren. The deadline to donate gifts is Dec. 18.
• Walmart: 2295 Gable Rd, St. Helens, OR 97051
• Post office: 207 W A St, Rainier, OR 97048
Locals can also donate toys directly to both fire stations. Officials ask that the toys be brand new and unused, and they will accept them wrapped or unwrapped, as long as they know the sex of the child the toys are intended for.
• Scappoose Fire Station: 52751 Columbia River Hwy, Scappoose, OR 97056
• Columbia River Fire & Rescue: 105 S 12th St, St. Helens, OR 97051
For those in need, applications are still available to benefit from the program, and are due by Dec. 9 for Columbia River Fire & Rescue and by Dec. 12 for Scappoose Fire District.
St. Helens High School:
There are two trees set up in St. Helens High School for a project coordinated by the high school’s Leadership PBIS coordinators, which anonymously supports a family of six within the district each year.
Student organizer Amarah Comer, in conjunction with coordinator Jennifer Bartocci, said the easiest tree for the community to access is located in the lobby next to the main office. Comer requests that donors bring packages back unwrapped with its tag attached to the main office.
The project began taking donations on Monday, Dec. 2, and will accept packages until Dec. 13 to give them time to package the items as gifts and deliver them to the family by the holidays.
Address: 2375 Gable Rd, St. Helens, OR 97051
Columbia County Sheriff’s Office:
The sheriff’s office has “the cutest little giving tree” according to officials, decorated with a Snoopy and Charlie Brown theme. The tree will benefit the animals held at Columbia County Animal Control. The sheriff’s office will accept donations for our furry friends right up until Christmas.
Address: 901 Port Ave, St. Helens, OR 97051
Columbia Community Mental Health – Columbia County Developmental Disabilities Program Office:
The giving tree at Columbia Community Mental Health (CCMH) will spend most of the time at Columbia County Developmental Disabilities Program Office, but will be at the CCMH Creekside Campus some of the time.
This tree will benefit adults who live in foster or residential homes who often don’t have any family. Officials said the only people many of these adults have in their life are paid support staff, so they wanted to make sure they had a little something “extra” around the holidays.
Officials ask that the gifts come back wrapped if possible, with tags securely attached. They will accept gifts until Dec. 19, with deliveries to be made on Dec. 20.
• 58646 McNulty Way, St. Helens, OR 97051- Creekside Office
• 58523 Old Portland Rd, St. Helens, OR 97051 – CCMH Developmental Disabilities Program
Sponsored by John L. Scott Real Estate to benefit SAFE of Columbia County:
These trees are located in Vinnie’s Chicago Sandwich Shop in St. Helens and at Fred Meyer in Scappoose. They are decorated with assorted gift tags for families, and organizers ask the presents come back wrapped with the tag attached so they know who they’re meant for. They will accept gifts until Dec. 20.
• 1521 Columbia Blvd, St. Helens, OR 97051 – Vinnie’s
• 51501 Columbia River Hwy, Scappoose, OR 97056 – Fred Meyer
Oregon First in Scappoose:
Oregon First has two giving opportunities running this holiday season. Collectively, Oregon First as a whole participates in the KGW toy drive, but our local branch didn’t want to take anything away from Scappoose Fire District’s ‘Share and Care’ Program, so they are collecting for both.
Oregon First will accept any unwrapped toy for children aged 0-18, and said they will usually ask which program you prefer your items to be donated to. Deadline for their Share and Care dropoff is Dec. 12, and for the KGW toy drive, they will accept until Dec. 16.
Address: 33555 E Columbia Ave Suite 113, Scappoose, OR 97056
Les Schwab in Scappoose:
Les Schwab also participates in both the KGW toy drive and Share and Care, but the manager said “it all stays in Columbia County” as they intend to take everything donated to the local fire department. They also take donations to the local high school and help “get everything boxed up.” Their deadline is Dec. 18.
Address: 51531 SE 2nd St, Scappoose, OR 97056
Columbia River Foursquare Church, in partnership with Riverside Community Outreach:
This giving tree is collecting gifts for local foster children. Take a gift tag from the tree in the commons and return it attached to a new gift for a foster child. Gifts need to be unwrapped and dropped off at the church by Dec. 18.
Address: 555 Commons Dr, St. Helens, OR 97051
St. Helens Market Fresh:
In support of our local Department of Human Services, take a tag and bring back a gift. They will accept packages until shortly before Christmas.
Address: 1111 Columbia Blvd, St. Helens, OR 97051
Rite Aid Pharmacy in St. Helens:
This giving opportunity is actually a ‘giving wreath’ in support of local senior citizens. Be a Santa to a senior and pick up a tag from the wreath with their requests. Gifts will be accepted until Dec. 13.
Address:785 S Columbia River Hwy, St. Helens, OR 97051
Bi-Mart in Scappoose:
There are two giving opportunites at Bi-Mart. They also have a giving wreath to benefit the seniors of Home Instead Senior Care. Officials there said the seniors’ requests include things like gift cards for certain stores, pajama sets and socks and various other wish-list items. They ask that the items are brought back unwrapped, as they’ll have a wrapping day people can sign up for at Home Instead. Donations are accepted until Dec. 13.
Bi-Mart is also a drop-off location for Scappoose Kiwanis.
Address: 51536 SE 2nd St, Scappoose, OR 97056
Healthy Smiles of Scappoose:
Healthy Smiles also has two giving opportunities in their office. Each year, they participate in a blanket and coat drive to support the Windermere Foundation’s efforts. Organizers are asking for adult-sized coats, gently used or now, and twin-size blankets. For every coat or blanket donated, Healthy Smiles will donate an additional $5 to the cause.
Healthy Smiles is also accepting canned food in support of the local food bank at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Scappoose. For every can of food donated, Healthy Smiles will donate an additional dollar to the church.
The deadline for both giving opportunities is Dec. 18.
Address: 33640 E Columbia Ave, Scappoose, OR 97056
InRoads Credit Union, Scappoose and St. Helens:
Inroads has a tree at their offices in both Scappoose and St. Helens. These trees benefit the county’s foster children, and tags can be picked up Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. InRoads could not be reached to confirm a donation deadline by press time.
• 52691 Columbia River Hwy, Scappoose, OR 97056
• 425 S. Columbia River Hwy, St. Helens, OR 97051
Clatskanie Baptist Church:
The giving tree at Clatskanie Baptist Church benefits local families in need that were brought to the church’s attention. Stop by any time while the pastor is working, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (and of course on Sundays) to pick up a tag. They ask that the gifts are returned unwrapped, and the deadline to contribute is Dec. 22.
Address: 415 N Nehalem St, Clatskanie, OR 97016
Wiggle Butz Pet Bakery:
The giving tree at the pet bakery will benefit the Columbia Humane Society. The society provided ornaments listing items they need. The bakery could not be reached by press time to provide a deadline for donated gifts. Their hours of operation are listed as 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Address: 1945 Columbia Blvd, St. Helens, OR 97051
Columbia County Circuit Court:
In support of the Department of Human Services, gifts made at this giving tree support children in foster care. Commonly-requested items include legos, makeup, gift cards to local shops, barbies and board games. Locals are encouraged to donate between now and Dec. 20.
Address: 230 Strand St, St. Helens, OR 97051