A traditional meal will be served to-go on Thanksgiving Day.
Portland Rescue Mission started in 1949. Over 70 years later, it’s still known for compassionate care to homeless men, women, and children. The nonprofit has 4 different locations and also provides long-term recovery care.
US Bank Corp volunteers assemble snack bags at Union Gospel Mission of Portland
Other Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities:
Blanchet House does not serve meals on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day so that its shelter residents who help to prepare and serve meals can enjoy a day of rest. The nonprofit has volunteer opportunities that you can do from home on Thanksgiving. See below.
From Blanchet House:
You can volunteer from home by doing one of the following meaningful activities.
Make Sack Lunches
Prepare 10-100 sack lunches and drop them off at Blanchet House. Review our Sack Lunch How-To for the details.
Donations can be dropped off Mon-Sat*, at 310 NW Glisan St. from 8 – 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 – 4 p.m. *We are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Pull up to our entrance, knock on the door to get our attention, and a staff member will retrieve your donation from the car. If you’d like a donation receipt, we can provide one. You can also call us at 503-241-4340 or email [email protected].
If you would like to volunteer on-site at Blanchet House on a day that is not a holiday sign up here. Blanchet House is open Mon-Sat, except for New Years Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. We are open all other holidays.
Portland, OR. Families are working through the African Library Project to get books into the hands of children in Sierra Leon, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Botswana, Malawi, and Lesotho. With the help of volunteers, the nonprofit establishes anywhere from 30-60 libraries per year, even during the pandemic throughout 2020. The process to launch a library is simple as the graphic below suggests, it involves gathering 1,000 gently used or new children’s books and making a $500 donation.
African Library Project establishes partnerships with African-based organizations that specialize in education, library, or community development. The partners must be capable of supporting the development of 30-60 libraries per year.
African Library Project works in English-speaking African countries that meet the organization’s criteria for sustainable library development. The nonprofit looks for countries that have a significant need for books and feature political stability, reliable transport of books to destinations, and a network of local organizations capable of organizing books into real, working libraries.
Partners and librarians in Africa unloading donated books. The African Library Project pays close attention to a recipient’s ability to sustain a working library.
Giving children access to books has become urgent because, according to a recent study, separation from the classroom as a part of global attempts to curb the spread of COVID-19 is negatively affecting their developing reading skills. The UN reports a significant decline in literacy and reading ability across the globe.
While all non-profit organizations have dedicated staff that work hard to affect change, most non-profits rely on volunteers. The months of social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic have taken their toll on all of us. Many remember all the canceled activities and suspended obligations from March of 2020; the wondering in April and May of how long it was all going to last. Volunteer programs were not immune to the confusion of constantly shifting guidelines, nor the concerns for safe and healthy conditions. A report released by VolunteerMatch found that during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, greater than 50% of non-profit organizations were experiencing heavy cancellations from their volunteers. Now that many states are re-opening and attempting to return to a semblance of normalcy, a lot of us still feel trepidation at the idea of entering back into public life. Here‘s a little “How To” courtesy of the African Library Project on how you can volunteer to support children’s literacy, re-engage with your local community, and stay safe while doing it. The African Library Project’s online Resource Center features everything you need to help build a library in Africa. It includes fundraising ideas, book drive guidelines, marketing, and outreach tips, quality standards for donated books, and how to pack and ship your completed library.
Below is an example of a poster:
African Library Project advertisement for the 2021 Summer Book Drive volunteer event.
About The African Library Project:
The African Library Project was founded in 2005 by Chris Bradshaw and her family from Portola Valley, California. While visiting remote villages in Lesotho, a small mountainous kingdom in Southern Africa, Chris was inspired to work toward ending the cycle of poverty and illiteracy when she found out that there was only one public library in the country. She realized the simple act of establishing libraries within schools would have a profound effect on communities as a whole.
We are proud to partner with capable and hardworking organizations and individuals who are dedicated to promoting literacy and library development in Africa. In the United States, volunteers organize book drives and raise funds to ship the books overseas. Once those books are gathered and mailed, the African Library Project relies on a network of dedicated partners within Africa to get them to each community – no matter how far. In addition to selecting and vetting each library recipient, our trusted partners provide training on how to set up and run a library in a rural community. They also follow up to evaluate the use of our libraries and encourage good library practices. The African Library Project’s goal is to make sure our libraries remain active and continue to enrich those who need them the most.
Portland, OR. Friends of Trees is an Oregon-based organization that plants trees around the Portland-metro area, Salem, and other parts of the state. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers have had to shift how they work to make sure it’s safe for everyone. Pivots include only carpooling with people in the same household and wearing masks during an entire volunteer entire.
Photo courtesy to FriendsOfTrees Instagram.
Organizers also request no more than 25 people per shift in the Portland area while in places like Eugene, a crew can include up to 50 people. Currently, Friends of Trees requires volunteers to sign up on its website and sign the waiver online instead of in person.
To best stay in touch with Friends of Trees, follow the nonprofit’s social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages at friendsoftrees.
Here’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions from Friends of Trees:
What should I bring to a planting? What about my group? Can you verify my hours? And more!
Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Friends of Trees! Friends of Trees strives to make your experience safe, fun, and fulfilling. Below are common volunteer questions as well as detailed information on safety measures we are taking during this era of Covid-19. Click on the question to view the answer. Thank you for considering volunteering with Friends of Trees!
Contact Friends of Trees Volunteer & Outreach Staff
Hmm…don’t see your question? No worries–we are still here to help you! You can reach Jenny Bedell-Stiles, Pablo Brito, and Carey Aroonsuck in the Volunteer & Outreach Program at [email protected] or call our volunteer hotline: 503-595-0213. We’re here to help make your volunteer experience a good one!
Portland, OR. Local families are in need of help after a year of unprecedented challenges. Pacific Northwest communities have supported causes like Black Lives Matter, record-breaking fundraising for political parties, and support for small businesses forced to close due to Covid-19. Nonprofits are hoping that they’ll receive much-needed year-end donations this holiday season. (Causes like Children’s Book Bank, pictured above, represent one of many local nonprofits that serve local families).
There are many meaningful actions that donors can take to help local communities in need of shelter, food, basic necessities, or toys for Christmas morning. On PortlandSocietyPage.com we have a page with a list of nonprofits, here’s a link to our partner’s page. Below is also a list of diverse nonprofits that may inspire those who can afford to offer time and resources to help these imperative causes thrive into the new year.
Volunteers at Blanchet House are encouraged to apply and follow strict Covid guidelines to ensure the safety of the community.
Blanchet House provides food, shelter, and aid to any in need with mutual respect and compassion. You can sign up to volunteer and learn more about donations on the non-profit’s website. Blanchet House is also participating in Willamette Weekly’s Give Guide and are trying to raise 35,000 dollars by December 31st.
The Christmas Family Adoption Foundation makes it possible to support an entire family in need during the holiday season. The PNW families are nominated to receive Christmas gifts from a wishlist. You can contribute in multiple ways on the foundation’s website so if you are unable to adopt a family, you can still support this worthy cause.
Oregon Food Bank is another excellent way to make sure those in need have a warm meal this winter. The organization has extended it’s Giving Tuesday fundraiser, and are also participating in Willamette Weekly’s Give Guide. With 1,400 food pantries all over Oregon and SW Washington, and you can sign up to volunteer and help keep the business thriving on it’s website.
Children’s Book Bank is a wonderful organization to give to around the holidays. This non-profit knows how important books are in children’s lives and has donated over 650,000 books to children in the Portland area. Book donations are being accepted along with monetary contributions, and you can volunteer with Children’s Book Bank virtually.
Store To Door makes sure that seniors and those with disabilities receive the groceries that they need through volunteer grocery shopping and delivery. This busy non-profit is always in need of volunteers and have many different ways that you can contribute. Store To Door has been improving the quality of lives of those in need since 1989.
Rose Haven works to ensure the safety of women, children, and marginalized genders that are experiencing homelessness, poverty, and other traumas. This organization provides a safe and stable community for these individuals, along with health resources and emotional support. Rose Haven’s volunteer positions focus on to-go meals, door-to-door services, and Covid-19 support currently, and there are many ways to donate to this worthy cause on the non-profit’s website.
Sunshine Division is another organization that will be in full swing ensuring that Pacific Northwest families get everything they need this winter. Food donations are always appreciated by this organization (with new Covid restrictions in place), and the non-profit hopes to continue to help families in the Portland area through monetary contributions this holiday season. Sunshine Division’s annual Winter Wonderland event runs from November 27th through January 2nd, and you can enjoy the drive-through light show from the safety of your car.
Sunshine Division organizes this Covid-safe family activity to support a great cause.
West Linn Food Pantry provides West Linn and Lake Oswego families with emergency food donations. They accept curbside food donations every Thursday between 1PM and 6PM at the non-profit’s West Linn location.
Hands-On Greater Portland is an excellent resource for finding out how you can volunteer and get involved this holiday season. This non-profit works to connect volunteers with projects and will help you find the best way to utilize your resources to help our local communities thrive. The site keeps an updated project calendar as well, to keep you updated on when your help is needed.
The Willamette Fall Trust is working to create a place where people can fully experience the beauty of the continents’ second most powerful waterfall, Willamette Falls, up close. The group plans to achieve this by creating a Riverwalk, which will give the public access to the intricacies of the river and waterfall. A few of the plans are to add a series of winding promenades and lofting pathways along the Willamette River to give people a great experience with the river and an intimate view of the Falls. The goal is to add an overlook at the precipice of the Falls and connect the Falls to downtown Oregon City. Designs for phase one of the Riverwalk are in the final stages and they are getting ready to start construction.
Willamette Falls Trust wants to make the Riverwalk into a place to tell stories of the communities that intersect at the Falls and the histories of the place.
Willamette Falls Trust has shared renderings of plans for what the future Riverwalk will look like.
Willamette Falls Trust is not currently adding volunteers because of pandemic guidelines, but the nonprofit hopes to soon. You can sign up here to stay updated on volunteer possibilities in the future.
The current plans for the Willamette Falls Riverwalk include repurposing one of the former mill buildings into a three-story structure which will provide visitors with an overlook of the falls and Willamette River, restored habitat and gathering spaces as well as the historic and cultural interpretation of the site.
“I was born and raised near Willamette Falls. I remember as a child, when we’d drive by and catch a glimpse of the Falls—and how extraordinary it was. As an adult, I feel that same awe. I will often pull over to the outlook on a sunny day to take in the view. It’s amazing how quickly looking over such beauty calms me and makes me feel at home.
My hope is that the Riverwalk will create that same sense of belonging for others, whether they live here or are just visiting. It’s what made me want to volunteer. Because this project is so much more than constructing buildings and walkways to view the largest waterfall in the Northwest. It is about celebrating people—past and present—who have built their lives around the Falls. It’s about safeguarding and sharing a beautiful landmark and habitat in a meaningful way.
I chose to volunteer because listening to and honoring the many histories and lifeways found at the Falls feels important to me. And I want to be part of bringing people together for the betterment of our community and environment.
My experience volunteering with Willamette Falls Trust has been meaningful in many ways. I immediately felt a kinship with the staff, and I appreciate how welcoming they are. My volunteer work is often behind the scenes, yet I still feel a connection with the community. It’s allowed me to contribute as many hours as I can to a project that protects and restores the beauty and environment of the Falls and creates a space to share our stories for many generations to come.
Being part of reimagining this spectacular place is meaningful beyond words.”
Willamette Falls Trust is the nonprofit organization raising funds and engaging the community to realize the collective vision for a spectacular Riverwalk at the Falls. This vision includes an overlook at the precipice of the Falls, a connection to Oregon City’s downtown, and opportunities to learn more about the significance of Willamette Falls since time immemorial.
As we curate this collective vision for Willamette Falls, we partner closely with the Willamette Falls Legacy Project—the public-sector collaboration that is managing Riverwalk construction—and our other partners, including:
Confederated Tribes and Bands of The Yakama Nation
Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde
Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians
Confederated Tribes of The Umatilla Indian Reservations
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
Downtown Oregon City Association
Portland General Electric
Rivers of Life
Travel Oregon/Mt Hood Territory
West Linn Paper
We Love Clean Rivers
Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation
Willamette Falls and Landings Heritage Area Coalition
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