Portland, OR

How Portlanders can give back this Thanksgiving

Rose Bak

Don't just talk about being thankful, try one of these great options to show your gratitude and help others.

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It's hard to believe, but next week is Thanksgiving already. With turkeys and cranberry sauce in short supply and the never-ending pandemic, your holiday may look a little different this year. Change is hard, but it's also a great time to do something different.

If you're vaccinated and able to be around others, why not create a new holiday tradition and help your neighbors at the same time?

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There are a lot of people in Portland who are suffering. People are struggling with food insecurity, the risk of homelessness, loneliness, and isolation from friends and family. Giving back is good for you.

Numerous studies have shown that taking care of others is good for your physical and mental health. People who volunteer or give to charity may have lower rates of chronic diseases, improved emotional health, and may actually live longer.

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Here's how you can help make someone's life better in Portland for Thanksgiving.

  • Make "Restart Kits" to welcome newly-arrived refugees. Hundreds of refugees from all around the world are settling in Oregon over the next few months. You can help the Refugee Care Collective offer our new neighbors kits with the supplies they need to start their new lives.
  • Help clean up the city. Trash is everywhere right now and several local groups are looking for volunteers to help clean things up and return Portland to the beauty that it's known for. Good bets are Neighbors Helping Neighbors, which cleans up around homeless camps, and SOLVE. Both groups are scheduling clean-up days throughout November and December.
  • Volunteer with Meals on Wheels. You can support our local Meals on Wheels People chapter to ensure that senior citizens and people with disabilities receive regular meals and a friendly face on their doorstep. For more on volunteering, check out their website.
  • Help the homeless. It's no secret that Portlanders are fed up with the homeless crisis in our city. But it's important to remember that many people are one or two lost paychecks away from being homeless themselves. Consider offering people on the street some cash or hygiene kits. Or join a homeless services agency like Blanchet House, the Portland Rescue Mission, Rose Haven, or others in providing meals to people living on the street. For information on how to help the homeless on Thanksgiving, click here.
  • Support your favorite local charity. Donations are down at non-profits across Portland. Even a donation as small as $25 can really help charities continue to do great work. Every non-profit has a website and you can either drop off a donation or make one online.
  • Make someone's day. Overtip your waitress or delivery driver. "Pay it forward" by paying for the person behind you in Starbucks. Tell someone to "keep the change". Send a postcard to someone you care about. Help your neighbor rake their leaves. The options are endless.

What's your favorite way to give back in Portland? Let me know in the comments.

#portland #oregon #volunteer #charity #holiday #homelessness

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Rose Bak is a freelance writer who lives in Portland, Oregon with her family and special needs dogs. She writes on a variety of topics including local news, homelessness, poverty, relationships, yoga, and aging. She is also a published author of romantic fiction. For more of Rose's work, visit her website at rosebakenterprises.com or follow her on social media @AuthorRoseBak.

Portland, OR
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