United Way of Greater Portland’s 20th Day of Caring

Posted by A. Smith on May-18-2012

I love people who experiment. So when United Way of Greater Portland’s Jessica Esch asked me if I wanted to participate in the organization’s 20th Day of Caring by mining stories, I was all for it. Neither of us knew going into it how things would unfold or how we’d use the stories down the road, but that’s okay because we’re the kind of crazy people who roll with it.

I showed up at yesterday’s kickoff rally at 7:45 a.m. with my notebook in hand. Jess gave me a few pointers, and then I made my way through the energetic crowd initiating dialogue with random volunteers. I instantly remembered how good it feels to work with a nonprofit and to give people voice – to invite them to contribute not only their services but also their stories.

People who participate in the Day of Caring do it out of selflessness. The irony, however, is how much they get back from it – pride, satisfaction, inspiration, joy, and knowledge. Yes, knowledge. The volunteers I spoke with were astounded this year and in years past by learning about the amazing work being done by nonprofits right here in our local community. This includes me.

Throughout the morning, I visited Ruth’s Reusable Resources, Mission Possible Teen Center, and The Salvation Army, and I was taken back with each encounter. Talk about perspective. In one morning I learned about ripped binders being turned into sets of magnetic letters for kindergartners, a 17-year-old girl who has no home but an unbreakable spirit, and that 40,000 pounds of food can be sorted and packed in less than three hours through teamwork.

I’ll save my stories, but I’ll tell you this: We live in a community where thousands of dedicated people and purpose-driven organizations make miracles happen every single day. And, United Way of Greater Portland helps make it possible.

Thanks, UWGP!

Add A Comment