After a brief hiatus, Central City Concern’s Monthly Volunteer Spotlight makes its return in 2016! This month, meet Scott McKnight, the first on-call volunteer to be featured on the blog! Read on to learn more about his many roles and why he enjoys volunteering with CCC.
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Name: Scott McKnight
Position: On-call volunteer
What have some of your volunteer projects been?
Let’s see… I went down into the basement of one of the buildings which I was told was part of the old tunnel system in Portland to fold some donated clothing and linens. It was strange but it was definitely interesting! I did some childcare with toddlers at one of the family housing sites to free up moms to attend a support meeting. I helped serve Thanksgiving dinner at one of the housing buildings. One of the most satisfying things I did was help put together overdose kits for Old Town Clinic.
What do you enjoy about the flexibility of the on-call position?
I like to do different volunteer jobs. I like it for the social aspects, too; I always meet nice people. I haven’t really done volunteering exactly like this, so it’s a bit different from what I’ve done. And I’ve done something different almost every time.
Why is volunteering important to you?
It lifts you up to go and volunteer for somebody else. It’s something I enjoy doing. I like helping out where I can. It makes me feel good.
I think it’s just part of my duty as a citizen. I feel really fortunate to have been raised in a middle-class family and now I’m part of that middle class. I set my own work hours so that allows me to get out and do some volunteering. I feel that if you can give back, then that’s something you should be doing.
What drew you to CCC?
Actually, I had never even heard of CCC before volunteering. I was searching for something work-related but then I came across CCC in the search results. I must’ve just clicked a link to send an email to Eric, the volunteer coordinator, and here we are.
But now when I come into downtown, I always see a CCC truck or a van.
What, if anything, have you learned so far?
It’s a great mission to try to get people off the streets and help them manage their addictions. We’re facing massive issues of homelessness and substance abuse and to try to just help that, to break the chain of substance abuse and poverty, is worthwhile.
Is there a particular volunteer experience that sticks with you?
Serving a Thanksgiving meal hit home. It was emotional to see all those people there. For one thing, doing that made me feel really fortunate.
The most emotional story from that day for me was talking with a woman having a meal. She said she couldn’t have her kids there because they weren’t able to stop using drugs long enough to come down and visit her. It was upsetting to hear that her past substance use had been passed on to the next generation. She had thankfully put in the work to escape it but her children had fallen into it.
Just being there and being with the actual people who were being helped by Central City Concern was meaningful. This might surprise people, but the residents just looked like everyday people, like me and you.
What would you say to someone who was on the fence about volunteerism?
Just try it. See what people you meet and see how you feel afterward.
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We’re grateful for on-call volunteers like Scott, who often respond to needs on short-notice and always show up with a fantastic attitude and a willingness to do work that helps our programs serve the needs of our clients and patients better.
If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with Central City Concern’s health and recovery, housing, or employment programs, contact Eric Reynolds, CCC’s Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our volunteer webpage.