Volunteers Brave Historic Winter Weather During MLK Weekend of Service

Monday, Jan. 23, 2017

The weather didn’t make it easy. 

Roads were packed with ice, the temperatures frigid. But over 600 volunteers still found a way to give back during United Way’s 10th annual MLK Weekend of Service, despite historic winter weather conditions that crippled the Portland region for days.

Eighty projects were planned, scheduled and staffed with volunteers. Thirty of them went on as planned. Powered by the legacy of Dr. King, (and maybe assisted by a healthy dose of cabin fever) the volunteers who made it out were energized, in good spirits and ready to make things happen.

A smiling, bundled-up team worked (outside!) at the Rebuilding Center to prepare reclaimed materials for new purposes, helping make home repairs affordable for everyone.

Whole families ventured to the Oregon Food Bank to package and box pantry staples for local families. They danced while doing so. In hairnets.

Children made sweet cards for seniors and PGE employees assembled STEM kits for young students. Volunteers sewed stacks of blankets for children in need of comfort and warmth and others prepared a hot meal for youth experiencing homelessness.

During a time when many of us are looking for a spirit boost wherever we can find it, volunteers during MLK Weekend of Service delivered. 

“I was blown away by the dedication and tenacity of Hands On volunteers over MLK Weekend,” said Becky Blumer, Director of Hands on Greater Portland. “In spite of treacherous conditions, over a third of our volunteers still made it out to serve those in need in our community. It was a huge boost to my spirits and belief in what we can do as a community when we come together.”

MLK Weekend of Service would not be possible without our generous sponsors. Special thanks to Presenting Sponsor Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon. 

“For more than 75 years, Regence BlueCross BlueShield has been partnering with community organizations to make Oregon a healthier and more equitable place to live. We’re proud to continue our support of United Way and the MLK Weekend of Service, which is such an impactful event that brings hope to Oregonians in need.” - Alison Arella, Corporate Social Responsibility

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