Portland, OR. Did you know that 43% of Oregonians volunteered in 2018? Many volunteered at Human Solutions to help ensure that homeless and low-income families can build pathways out of poverty. Oregon ranks third in the nation, behind Utah and Minnesota for the percentage of the population that volunteers. In city rankings, Portland ranks fifth of all cities with 44% of citizens volunteering. (The full list of rankings is included in this story, near the end. In last place: Florida.)

We’d like to tip our hats to those who give of their time for others! Thank you!

We’ve got some idea for volunteering this holiday season if you’d like to join the crew, there are hundreds of opportunities. Hands-on Greater Portland is a great place to start. You can sort by date, interest, location, etc.

We have a list of over 150 local nonprofit partners with live links on our Partners Page. All your favorites are there! Like Meals on Wheels. Here’s a video about their program:

You can check out organizations that offer special holiday volunteer opportunities by interest, like the following:

Portland Animal Welfare
Portland Animal Welfare (PAW) hosts monthly clinics that offer free veterinary services to the homeless and impoverished. Medical, creative and logistical volunteers are always needed. Volunteers are always welcome at rescue shelter Animal Aid and the Oregon Humane Society.

Helping the Homeless
Bridgetown Inc. helps Portland’s homeless population. You can volunteer at its weekly Night Strike event that brings food, clothing, haircuts, and supplies to people under the Burnside Bridge. There are also opportunities to help at Portland Homeless Family Solutions shelters and with local service-providing organization Outside In. 

Oregon Food Bank
Keeping the pantry stocked at the Oregon Food Bank is a big job that typically falls to volunteers. Sign up as an individual or as a group.

Friends of Trees
Keep Portland and the surrounding area green with Friends of Trees, which is always looking for volunteers to plant trees in local soil.

Meals on Wheels People
Volunteer to deliver hot meals to the homebound elderly for the holidays with Meals on Wheels People, which is looking for volunteers now. You can also use your car to give rides to the elderly or disabled with Ride Connection.

Helping a Home
A home can be a meaningful thing – it can also be pretty costly. You can help by volunteering at the ReBuilding Center, a Portland organization that reclaims and recycles rebuilding and remodeling materials, selling them at a low cost. For the home decor side of things, there’s Community Warehouse, which provides basic household furnishings to Portland’s more vulnerable populations.

Here’s a list of the national volunteer statistics from the Corporation for National and Community Service:

Rank States Rate
1 Utah 51.0%
2 Minnesota 45.1%
3 Oregon 43.2%
4 Iowa 41.5%
5 Alaska 40.6%
6 Nebraska 40.2%
7 District of Columbia 39.8%
8 Montana 38.8%
9 Maine 38.7%
10 Idaho 37.9%
11 North Dakota 37.4%
12 Wisconsin 37.4%
13 Kansas 36.5%
14 Maryland 36.3%
15 South Dakota 36.3%
16 Vermont 36.0%
17 Washington 35.7%
18 New Hampshire 35.7%
19 North Carolina 35.1%
20 Indiana 34.9%
21 Pennsylvania 34.2%
22 Virginia 34.0%
23 Ohio 33.2%
24 Wyoming 32.7%
25 Massachusetts 32.6%
26 Colorado 32.4%
27 Oklahoma 32.0%
28 Missouri 31.9%
29 Delaware 31.8%
30 Connecticut 31.8%
31 Tennessee 31.3%
32 South Carolina 30.8%
33 Rhode Island 30.7%
34 Arizona 30.0%
35 Arkansas 30.0%
36 Michigan 29.4%
37 Texas 28.4%
38 Illinois 28.1%
39 Kentucky 28.1%
40 West Virginia 28.1%
41 Hawaii 28.0%
42 Alabama 27.4%
43 New Mexico 27.1%
44 Georgia 26.5%
45 New Jersey 26.1%
46 Louisiana 25.8%
47 California 25.4%
48 New York 25.3%
49 Nevada 24.4%
50 Mississippi 23.8%
51 Florida 22.8%


1 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metro Area 46.3%
2 Rochester, NY Metro Area 45.6%
3 Salt Lake City, UT Metro Area 45.0%
4 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI Metro Area 44.6%
5 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Metro Area 44.3%
6 Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN Metro Area 43.3%
7 Pittsburgh, PA Metro Area 38.1%
8 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metro Area 38.1%
9 Raleigh, NC Metro Area 38.0%
10 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metro Area 37.6%