For more than two decades, our Hands On Greater Portland team has hosted numerous volunteer projects during Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend known as the MLK Weekend of Service. This year, we decided the best way to honor MLK was to amplify the work of other nonprofits dedicated to his work and shift our signature volunteer event to the fall. We are proud to introduce Community Impact Week which took place October 4 to 8, 2022!
Community Impact Week was a week dedicated to volunteer service with more than 30 projects and more than 600 volunteers across four counties — Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas and Clark. Volunteer opportunities highlighted our work that supports the mission and values of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette: early education opportunities, disaster and crisis resiliency, stable housing and, of course, volunteerism.
In line with our mission of advancing racial equity, we intend to focus on increasing the number of our Community Impact Week volunteer projects each year to serve communities of color and support racial justice initiatives. Volunteering throughout the week is a great way for individuals, family, friends and corporate groups to get out and support your local community.
This year’s Community Impact Week was a rousing success, with projects taking place around our region. Our volunteers worked in fields, farms, parks, and schools; they spent time packing energy saving kits, repairing children’s books, responding to letters from prisoners with a personalized book selection, tending trails, gardening and so much more.
One volunteer who joined a work group at Hoyt Arboretum wasn't even a local! Connor Moore, from North Carolina originally, is travelling the country on a road trip, and during his 14-hour train ride from Chico, California to Portland, Connor decided to look up some volunteer opportunities so he could get involved while couch-surfing in our city. He found out about our Community Impact Week and was quick to join, ripping out invasive blackberries and ivy to help protect Portland's beloved Hoyt Arboretum.
"It's a neat way to get involved with the community on a more natural level," Moore said.
As we reach the end of the year, we hope you embody this volunteer spirit as well. Visit the Hands On Greater Portland website year-round to find great volunteer opportunities where you can collaborate with friends, neighbors or strangers to make a massive impact on our community’s resilience and well-being. We look forward to next year’s Community Impact Week, stay tuned and keep your eyes peeled for information on that!