This week is National Volunteer Week! We at Central City Concern have a lot to celebrate, and we’re excited to share with you about our volunteers in a number of ways throughout the week. CCC’s Volunteer Manager, Eric Reynolds, kicks off #NVW2016 with some thoughts for and about our volunteers!
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Each September Central City Concern is honored to be invited to a colossal volunteer expo that, quite literally, fills every nook, cranny, and brick of
Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square. Row upon row of 3-foot by 8-foot tables are placed in the open plaza so that over 125 Portland agencies can squeeze
in, lay down their table cloths, put out their promotional pamphlets and freebies, and present to the general public about their various services and accompanying
volunteer programs. Whether environmental, animal-oriented, or services for a very specific population, each organization in attendance most certainly
has their noble causes and thus competition for potential interest at this event can be rigid. Some organizations have the always lovable "adorable
puppies" strategy to draw attendees in. Others wisely have delicious cookies or ice cream to share. Central City Concern has our mission...
Providing comprehensive solutions to ending homelessness and achieving self-sufficiency.
Despite not having much in the way of bells and whistles to hand out, I somehow always manage to pack up and walk away from the festivities with a raspy voice and fresh sunburn due to the amazing interest we receive. Portlanders seem to understand that this community they live in—the one we all share—is only going to get better if we make it better. It is this collective sentiment that has led Central City Concern to engage nearly 350 volunteers over the past year.
Whether it is eloquently explaining how to correctly take a daily medicine to someone in pain, forming an assembly line to stock and pack hundreds of move-in kits for folks transitioning to life with a roof over their heads, or taking the time to organize clothing so a job applicant has a tie to wear to an upcoming interview, our volunteers each have their own version of what a solution may look like. All of them help.
Every smile, every handshake, and every moment here matters to someone and that kind of altruism deserves to be recognized. With that, and on behalf of Central City Concern and those we serve, I want to kick off National Volunteer Week by celebrating the service of those who have so graciously given their time to CCC by simply saying "THANK YOU."
We may not have wet-nosed puppy kisses or double scoops of chocolate swirl, but we do have a way to ensure that our volunteers are truly helping their neighbors and our community.