A group of people pose outdoors with sunshine behind them.

Community Impact Week 2023

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023

Each October, United Way and our dedicated volunteer branch, Hands On Greater Portland, unite community members across our four-county impact area, infusing energy into a myriad of volunteer events for diverse nonprofits. Across Clackamas, Clark, Multnomah and Washington counties we bring hundreds of volunteers together to dive headfirst into volunteer projects needing helping hands.

In 2023, our impact grew yet again! We were able to work with new and old partner nonprofits alike while better engaging with our volunteers, corporate sponsors and partners. Below are a few highlights of the projects we undertook.

"I'm grateful for the impact of my community and that I'm surrounded by people who utilize their gifts and skills to further support different affinity groups."

Lindsey Norlander, Executive Director, Dress For Success (A Community Impact Week partner)

Columbia Children's Arboretum

We partnered with Portland Parks & Recreation to remove a LOT of invasive blackberries throughout the beautiful Columbia Children's Arboretum. Volunteers were able to learn how to identify invasive blackberries vs. native ones, and we all had a great, sweaty day in the sun. An energetic group of students from Portland State University joined us along with volunteers from throughout the community.

Community Energy Project

Around 12 volunteers joined in to create energy efficiency kits with Community Energy Project on this quiet, inspiring Saturday volunteer event. We packaged hundreds of kits full of helpful bits and bobs that went out to the community just in time for the cold months setting in. From insulating foam to low-flow faucet heads, these kits are incredibly helpful! Volunteers also had the chance to learn a LOT about how to better make their own homes more energy efficient.

Transition Projects

Homelessness is an issue of concern for many in our community, and thanks to our volunteer event with Transition Projects, many in our community had the chance to help out! We partnered with a team from our sponsor, Columbia Distributing, to sort through pallets of donated goods to help ensure Transition Projects can get these items out and into the hands of people who need them. From clothing to outdoor gear to hygiene products, their warehouse was packed with necessary items in need of organizing!

 "I am grateful to live around people that care as much as they do about the issues that are affecting Portland right now. Transition Projects provide services to people experiencing homelessness, and that is an issue that has grown worse over the last few years. I am incredibly grateful to have a job where I get paid to connect with people who want to help, who see the humanitarian crisis on our streets and call or email to find out how they can get involved in trying to help people who are going through such a difficult time. We are incredibly lucky to have volunteers and donors who help us in our mission of helping folks transition from homelessness into housing, and I'm grateful for all of those people's health every day."

Emily Coleman, Volunteer Program Supervisor at Transition Projects.

Children's Book Bank

In one of our recurring (and most popular!) projects, volunteers are invited into the Children's Book Bank to clean and repair donated books. Children's Book Bank knows the importance of reading, and wants to ensure kids who receive their books feel like they are their own, so the repair and cleaning process is integral to maintaining a positive relationship with reading for you and kids in the community alike! Our volunteers are able to be seated at ADA accessible tables while working on the books, and the colorful atmosphere and inspiring mission keep everyone in a great mood!

"I'm grateful for all the new books with amazing representation. And for the volunteers here that help us get these books out to the community!"

Brittany Brock, Volunteer Program Manager at Children's Book Bank

These are just a few samplings of the projects we offer each year during Community Impact Week. There are opportunities for everyone to get involved, and we know volunteering has benefits for you, your community and everyone around you. The impact of your efforts is undeniable, and we treasure the time you spend volunteering alongside us. Thank you volunteers!

Community Impact Week 2024 kicks off on Oct. 1st-5th, so keep an eye out for it and happy new year!

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