Portland, January 17th, 2016. There’s still time to join your friends and neighbors honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by volunteering over MLK Weekend. Last year, according to the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, over 1,600 people in our area volunteered over the three-day weekend. Out at Gilbert Heights Elementary teens were sprucing up the community garden for Camp Fire Columbia. For the ninth year in a row, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette and Hands On Greater Portland are teaming up to make it easy for you to take action across Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, and Clark Counties and make a difference through volunteer service. Here’s a link to volunteer opportunities. 

Each week a group of students from the Camp Fire program works in the garden to learn about local plants and vegetables, planting, maintaining gardens and healthy eating.

Each week a group of students from the Camp Fire program tends the garden to learn about local plants and vegetables, planting, maintaining gardens and healthy eating.

MLK Weekend of Service has begun! This morning Open School students and employees from event sponsor Umpqua Bank got some help assembling STEM kits from Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. ‪#‎MLKDay‬

Open School students and employees from event sponsor Umpqua Bank worked side by side assembling STEM science kits.

MLK Weekend of Service has begun! This morning Open School students and employees from event sponsor Umpqua Bank got some help assembling STEM kits from Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. ‪#‎MLKDay‬

The volunteers had some help from Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. ‪

Last year, local volunteers contributed a total of 6,416 hours through 72 different volunteer projects throughout the four-county region. United Way’s Hands On Greater Portland team, the organizer of the weekend’s festivities, estimates the value of the volunteers’ service at $136,982, based on the estimated value of a volunteer’s time at $21.35* per hour.

Volunteers from across the four counties collaborated on a variety of projects from painting, stocking shelves, restoring books for preschoolers, preparing food boxes, and beautifying school gardens and parks.

Approximately 45 of the volunteer projects were directly related to helping low-income kids and families, supporting United Way’s overall strategy to break the cycle of childhood poverty in our region.

“United Way is proud to recognize the life and legacy of Dr. King, and provide a space where residents across our four counties can link arms in service to move critical work necessary to strengthening our region,” said Keith Thomajan, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette’s President and CEO. “Dr. King believed that everyone plays a role in making America what it ought to be. By making service a part of our daily lives, we can help realize Dr. King’s dream and improve the lives of low-income kids and families across our region.”

Today, we kicked off MLK Weekend of Service with NW Natural at The Children's Book Bank where volunteers cleaned hundreds of books that will be distributed to youth in our community. Thank you NW Natural for being a sponsor of MLK Weekend of Service and making a difference!

Today, we kicked off MLK Weekend of Service with NW Natural at The Children’s Book Bank where volunteers cleaned hundreds of books that will be distributed to youth in our community. Thank you NW Natural for being a sponsor of MLK Weekend of Service and making a difference!

You can help kids and families by packaging food, cleaning up schools, making blankets for children in need, and more. Or, choose from a wide variety of projects that fit your interests, from socializing animals to beautifying parks.

You can help kids and families by packaging food, cleaning up schools, making blankets for children in need, and more. Or, choose from a wide variety of projects that fit your interests, from socializing animals to beautifying parks.

Volunteers swinging sledge hammers and cleaning up the grounds to help transform Living Cully Plaza into a space for the community.

Volunteers were helping to transform Living Cully Plaza on NE Killingsworth into a space for the community.

Volunteers are cleaning bikes for kids at Community Cycling Center as we speak!

Volunteers were cleaning bikes for kids at Community Cycling Center.

17 hardy volunteers braved the elements at Portland Memory Garden this morning in honor of Dr. King

17 hardy volunteers braved the elements at Portland Memory Garden in honor of Dr. King.

Here’s a video about the history and future of MLK day. Corporation for National and Community Service

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

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