Jan and Shelby

Jan Cartwright, left, and Shelby Mogenson stand in the Assistance League warehouse where they store all the clothes for children in need.

Though winter is the traditional season to “deck the halls,” North Coast residents can get creative with seasonal decor this month.

The Assistance League of the Columbia Pacific will host a “Pandemic Porch Parade” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 10. The parade will raise money for the organizations programs that support Clatsop County children.

The parade will feature a driving tour of 10 porches decorated with fun fall-inspired themes around Astoria. The event replaces the organization’s annual Home and Chef fundraiser.

The Home and Chef fundraiser was canceled this year as a precaution to the coronavirus pandemic.

The event will start at 725 Niagara Ave. in Astoria. Participants can view the 10 porches from their cars on a prescribed route. Porch displays will be located near Fred Lindstrom Park and Pioneer Cemetery, among other locations.

Operation School Bell

The Assistance League runs Operation School Bell to provide clothing to school children in need.

Parade participants can also enjoy snack boxes with treats from local restaurants, a scavenger hunt for kids and a trivia contest for older youth and adults. All participants under 18 will receive a prize at the end of the parade route. Adults who participate in the trivia contest can enter a lottery for prizes including a zip line tour, yoga membership package and handmade quilts.

Fall fun for a cause

All proceeds from the event will benefit the organization’s programs that provide emergency clothing, school supplies and other care items to Clatsop County children.

In 2019, the organization served 644 kids in Clatsop County. The organization is in its 10th year as an official chapter of the national Assistance League and has 102 local members.

During recent months, the organization has shifted to address students’ distance learning needs. School supplies like earbuds and microphones for Zoom classes or art supplies for younger learners have been especially in demand, said Shelby Mogenson, the organization’s president.

Pumpkins

The “Pandemic Porch Parade” will be fall and Halloween themed.

“This year, because of COVID, we’re really concentrating on what the kids need for digital learning or for in-school learning if they can’t share school supplies,” Mogenson said. “We’re finding out from the schools what they need.”

The organization provides a range of services to local youth through five programs.

Operation School Bell provides new clothing to children. The Duffel Bag program donates duffel bags with comforting items to children entering foster care. Cinderella’s Closet lends about 500 new or gently used gowns to high school girls for school dances.

Mogenson said she hopes the organization’s members will be able to visit schools in-person again soon in order to meet the kids they serve and deliver clothing face-to-face.

“(The kids) would be so excited, skipping down the hall, smiles on their faces. The most wonderful thing is the kids’ reaction to their clothes,” Mogenson said.

Shelby

Shelby Mogenson is helping plan a "Pandemic Porch Parade."

Two other programs provide support beyond clothing and essential items. The School Sponsored Activities Scholarship program provides funding to help middle and high school students afford athletics, field trips and other extracurriculars.

The Outreach program, started this year, was developed to respond to emergency needs. This year, funds were donated to the Clatsop Community Action Regional Food Bank’s backpack program. The league is also considering a partnership with a reading program to bring books into the homes of local children, Mogenson said.

Fundraising for programs has been more difficult during the pandemic. The league also canceled its annual Golf Ball Drop fundraiser last spring.

Despite setbacks, board member Jane Cartwright said that the league is looking forward to hosting the Pandemic Porch Parade.

Jan and Shelby

Jan Cartwright, left, and Shelby Mogenson are planning a ‘Pandemic Porch Parade’ as a fundraiser for the Assistance League on Oct. 10.

“People have not been able to get out and they haven’t had things to do,” she said. “This will be a chance to get out of your house from the safety of your car and have some fun family time.”

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