Holiday Volunteering 2013

Get involved this holiday season!

As the clouds roll in and the skies darken earlier, nonprofits across the Greater Portland area are looking for volunteers like you to brighten the day by lending a hand!

► Have a few hours?

Check out our Project Calendar to find a variety of "done-in-a-day" volunteer opportunities.

  • Look for *Hands On* in the title to find projects managed by us. You can sign up in two clicks to join a group of volunteers on a 2-4 hour project, lead by a trained volunteer leader; no experience or ongoing commitment required!

  • Look for "Referral" in the title to find projects managed directly by our many wonderful nonprofit partners. Express interest in one of these opportunities, and you'll hear back from the managing organization with next steps.

► Deepen your impact...

Search all of our volunteer opportunities to find longer-term or skills-based opportunities with our 300+ non-profit partners. You can hone your search by keyword, zipcode, availability and more! In the search results, look for opportunities with the time listed as "Open" to find opportunities that could use your help for more than a single shift.

► Seeking assistance?

If you are seeking food or gift assistance during the holidays, please visit 211info to get connected with programs that can help.

► Have items to donate?

Here at Hands On, we have many amazing nonprofit partners with holiday programs that couldn’t happen without in-kind donations from generous individuals like you. From unwrapped gifts to books to hygiene kits to hats, take a look at the list below to find something you could give!

To donate items that aren't listed below, check out, a local organization connecting individuals and corporate donors who want to give in-kind donations (non-monetary) to nonprofit organizations that need them.


► Organizations to Support with In-Kind Donations:

The Children's Book Bank

Items Needed: We are hosting a volunteer project for PPS elementary students on MLK Weekend, and need to gather 2,000 used children's books in order to do this!

Book Categories:
-Board books, picture books, books about numbers, colors, animals, shapes and words, storybooks, rhyming books, Dr. Seuss books, and books in Spanish are greatly needed.
-Chapter books in great condition for elementary and middle school students are also welcome.
-Please, no encyclopedias, no musty or damaged books, and no school textbooks.

About The Children's Book Bank: The Children’s Book Bank, founded by a former Teach for America math teacher, strives to improve the literacy skills of low-income children by giving them books of their own before they reach kindergarten. To do this, The Children's Book Bank collects, repairs, and packages used books. The books are then made available to families in need - free of charge.Getting books to kids is our mission! We want to get used books that are languishing in households all over the metro area, clean and repair them, and give them directly to local Head Start students so they are more prepared by the time they reach their kindergarten classroom.

How to Donate:
 Bring used children's books to the United Way lobby and place them in the donation box. 
619 SW 11th Ave. 
Portland, OR 97205

Drop off hours: 8am-5pm M-F

Questions? Contact or 503.200.3372. 

Raphael House of Portland

Items Needed: Community members can help by donating new, unwrapped gift items for women & children, including: clothing (all sizes for adults & children), toys, household items, kitchen supplies, beauty products, gift cards, TriMet bus passes, hygiene items & gift wrapping.

It is also helpful to receive grocery gift cards & non-perishable food items like stuffing mix, brown & white sugar, gravy mix, cookie/cake/brownie mix, cocoa mix, assorted teas & dried spices for family's holiday meals.

About Raphael House of Portland: Raphael House of Portland is a multi-faceted domestic violence agency dedicated to ending intimate partner violence for good. Each year, we serve approximately 100 families via our emergency shelter, offer safety planning & support to 5,000 callers via our 24-hour in-house crisis line & provide transitional housing and non-residential advocacy in partnership with the Portland Police Bureau to an additional 400 families.

How to Donate: There are two Donation Drop-off events on Wed., December 11 from 10 am – 2 pm & Thur., December 12 from 3 – 7 pm at Sunnyside Centenary United Methodist Church (3520 SE Yamhill St.). Just look for us downstairs via the 35th Avenue side of the building.

Special drop-off arrangements can also be accommodated, but please just contact us in advance at or (503) 222-6507x315 to coordinate.

The holidays can be an especially difficult time for survivors of domestic violence who’ve been forced to leave behind their homes & belongings. So we strive to foster a bright & hopeful season by providing gifts for everyone we’ve served over the past year.

Come December, 115 of these families are invited to Raphael House's confidential location where they can “shop” for free toys, clothing & other items for themselves and their children. And since 100% of the items are donated, we rely heavily on the support of community members & businesses to provide enough gifts for everyone!

Items Needed: We fill 35 stockings for all the residents with toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental.floss, mouthwash, q tips, shampoo, apples and chocolate santas.

About is an organization set up to help gay males come out, network, and learn about their gay male culture worldwide in acordance with our mission statement. To raise funds to help those in recouvery ( from bullying, identity acceptance, substance abuse, or HIV ) and help provide "Safe Space Housing" though our Emergency Services Program.

How to Donate: Please call or drop off at our 12643 SE Market St. Portland safe house. Call 503.719.7793 or 503.894.0082.

The Inn Home

Items Needed: Gift cards to Target, New Seasons and Fred Meyer provide food, clothing, hygiene and/or household items to foster youth.

About The Inn Home: The Inn, with the community and other service providers, expands possibilities and opportunities for youth and their families. Gift cards help youth feel supported by the community around the holidays. Foster youth often feel invisible. These gifts give youth the opportunity to have much needed items that will serve to grant their holiday wishes and provide hope for the future.

How to Donate: Gift cards can be dropped off or mailed to 5605 E. Burnside Street Portland, Oregon 97225 during regular business hours. Gift cards will be distributed to foster youth that have very limited to no support system during the holidays. To find out more, or to donate a gift card online, visit:

Open Meadow

Items Needed: Clothing: (Ages 11-23, variety of sizes)
Winter weather clothes: coats, sweatshirts/hoodies, scarves, gloves, hats
T-shirts, jeans, leggings
Rain gear or boots
Tennis shoes - men's sizes 7-12 and women's sizes 6-9
Professional attire - men's and women's interview clothing & shoes

Food: Nonperishable
Frozen turkeys

Food: Perishable
Prepared holiday meals Thanksgiving week

About Open Meadow: Open Meadow's mission is to develop connection, capability, and confidence in disconnected youth through relationship-based, quality learning experiences that result in academic, personal, and community success.

Open Meadow provides intensive support services designed to reconnect young people with education and assist them in addressing barriers that previously interfered with school success, such as food and clothing. 86% of our nearly 800 youth are on free or reduced lunch, or live at or below the federal poverty level; 75% are youth of color; 10% are teen parents.

How to Donate: Open Meadow Administrative Offices are located in North Portland. Please contact Cindy Casama Gerber at 503.488.5187 / to make arrangements before dropping off any items. Thank you for your generosity!

Friends of the Children

Items Needed: We hold a gift drive for our 400 program youth and their siblings (primarily ages 5-18). We also accept items for food boxes and new winter clothing.

About Friends of the Children: Friends of the Children provides Portland’s most vulnerable children with intensive and long-term mentors. We take a preventive, early intervention approach that breaks the cycle of poverty and abuse by helping children in need overcome the many obstacles in their lives.

Many of the youth we serve come from families who cannot afford to provide their children with a traditional holiday. We want to be sure that every child we serve gets to experience some holiday traditions. Observing holiday traditions can help youth overcome feelings of shame they may otherwise experience about their families' situations.

How to Donate: Donations may be dropped off at our main office (44 NE Morris St, Portland, OR 97212) during normal business hours (M-F, 8:00-5:00). Please contact Meagan Golec ( to arrange a drop off. Thank you and happy holidays!


Autism Research and Resources of Oregon

Items Needed: Our Holiday Assistance Fund requests donations to give to families with children and adults with autism in the Portland Metro area who are in the County Developmental Disabilities case management systems. We buy gift cards, toys and clothing to the County Case Managers who provide them to the families affected by autism who are in the greatest need. Our long range goal is to raise enough funding to provide this resource to all of the counties in Oregon.

About Autism Research and Resources of Oregon: The mission of Autism Research and Resources of Oregon is to assist with autism research projects in Oregon, and to develop resources to meet unmet needs for families and individuals with autism in Oregon, and to assist families to locate already existing resources that meet their needs.

Many families who have an individual with autism find themselves in extreme financial need. They have an even greater level of stress during the holidays. We provide these resources to families to bring them some financial relief and bring them the spirit of holidays.

How to Donate: Contact Kathy Henley at 503-351-9255, or email her at to make arrangements for pickup at your convenience.

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center and Foundation

Items Needed: The families we serve will be greatly impacted by items to keep warm this winter, such as hats, scarves, gloves and socks. In addition, gifts for children during the holiday season such as books and toys (up to age 15).

About Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center and Foundation: Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center (Virginia Garcia) provides high quality, comprehensive and culturally appropriate primary health care to the communities of Washington and Yamhill Counties with a special emphasis on those with barriers to receiving health care.

Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation provides enduring support for Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center through the cultivation of community partners.

A person's health is finely intertwined with how basic needs are met. The stress of being able to provide for your family, or the effects of not having a warm coat can take a great toll on a person's well being. We work hard to make sure that patients are cared and provided for on every level so that their health is not put into jeopardy, and this means caring for our patients whether they are inside our clinics or inside their homes.

How to Donate:
Drop off at VG's Admin site:
328 W Main St, Ste 300
Hillsboro, OR 97123

Contact for drop off or pick up is:
Olivia MacKenzie

Note: A more detailed list and marketing flyer for drives can be provided upon request to interested groups.

Human Solutions

Items Needed: We are looking for donations of brand new winter coats, warm clothing, household items such as pots and pans, dishes and silver ware, bedding, and towels, toys, games, sports balls, etc. These items will be given out at our Holiday Store. This is for our Holiday giving program which is an opportunity for families to choose free gifts for their children aged newborn to 17 years of age.

About Human Solutions: Human Solutions’ mission is to help low-income and homeless families and individuals gain self-sufficiency by providing affordable housing, family support services, job readiness training, and economic development opportunities.

The items we are requesting are for our Holiday giving program. This is a unique program where we collect thousands of brand new donated items from the community and allow homeless and low-income families to come in and choose free gifts for their children. Gifts include toys and games, warm winter coats, clothing, socks and other essential items such as dishes, pots and pans and blankets. Many of the families are transitioning from homelessness, so they are living in a new place, but have little to nothing in their new home. This is an opportunity to help families with the essential items they need.

How to Donate: Please contact Rich Franklin 503- 548 -0280 or email


Jewish Family & Child Services

Items Needed: Your donation of canned food or the adoption of a family for the holidays will help us reach our goals to provide 150 families with Thanksgiving food boxes and 60 families with holiday gifts.

About Jewish Family & Child Services: Guided by the wisdom and values of our tradition, Jewish Family & Child Service provides social services that improve the lives of children, adults and families in the Jewish and general communities.

JFCS serves low income families, seniors, people with disabilities, and Holocaust survivors. Our Emergency Aid Holiday Campaigns provide our clients with extra support for the holidays.

How to Donate: Jewish Federation of Greater Portland is the official drop site for non-perishable food: 6680 SW Capitol Hwy Portland, OR 97219.

Please bring the following items to their office before November 15.

Can of Mixed Nuts (10 oz.)
Can cream of mushroom soup (10.75 oz)
Can French Fried Onions (6 oz)
Can of Chicken Broth (14.5 oz)
Can of Princella Cut Sweet Potatoes (29 oz.) Packages Turkey gravy mix (.87 oz)
Can of Cranberry Sauce (14 oz)
Mrs. Cubbison Herb Stuffing (12 OZ.)
Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider (25.4 fl. Oz.)
Can Cut Green Beans (14.5 oz)

If you would like to adopt a family please contact Melissa Bloom,, 503-226-7079 ext.116.


Schoolhouse Supplies

Items Needed: New and gently used school supplies, art supplies, books, and office supplies.

About Schoolhouse Supplies: Schoolhouse Supplies supports public education in Portland by giving students and teachers free classroom supplies. We operate Oregon's only volunteer-run Free Store for Teachers, which is stocked with supplies donated by the community, the Tools for School backpack giveaway, and Schoolhouse Supplies Online programs.

These donated items will stock the Free Store for Teachers. Teachers will bring the items back to their classrooms and to students who need them to succeed. Almost half of Portland's K-12 students are living at or below the poverty level and do not have access to the tools they need to learn. Classroom supplies start to run very low right before the holiday season and parents and teachers are strapped for resources to replenish them. With your donations, teachers can come and get what they need to restock their classrooms for the new year.

How to Donate: Donations can be dropped off at Schoolhouse Supplies.
Mondays and Fridays 9-5pm
Tuesdays through Thursdays 9-7pm

2735 NE 82nd Ave.
Portland, OR 97220
(Look for the big green sign between Madison High School and the sports field.)

Call 503.249.9933 with questions.

HIV Day Center

Items Needed: We are looking for toiletries, specific shower gel. We are also looking for donations of backpacks, sleeping bags and blankets.

About HIV Day Center: The Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon's HIV Services programs are a staff/volunteer/participant community that strive to address basic needs of individuals living with HIV/AIDS in a manner consistent with the values of respect, compassion and safety.

By providing access to showers and toiletries at our center, we are able to help individuals stay clean and healthy and prepare for any interviews or meetings they may have. As well, a number of our clients are un-housed and during the winter months in particular, our ability to give them warm blankets and sleeping bags is crucial for their health and safety.

How to Donate: Please contact Jesse at to arrange a time to drop donations off. Thank you!

Macdonald Residence

Items Needed: Our residents come to us sometimes with very little in the way of personal items, like bedding. New pillows and blankets would help out our organization so much.

About Macdonald Residence: We provide hope in the heart of old town Portland. Our 54-bed assisted living facility provides for the well being of the very poor who have lived in the heart of Portland. Many of our residents have at one point or another lived on the streets with the bare necessities. We provide them with a secure, loving, safe environment, and new pillows and blankets will make their lives just a little more comfortable while they live here at the Macdonald Residence.

How to Donate: They can be dropped off during regular hours M-F 8-5 at 605 NW Couch at the Macdonald Residence. Or, call Rhoda Crowe, Life Enrichment Director at 971-221-2634 and we will come and get them.


Store to Door

Items Needed:

Order Taking items: Handheld Label Maker and (4) rolling storage carts

Service Delivery items: Electric vehicle and (2) GPS Garmin's

About Store to Door: Store to Door facilitates independent living for Portland area seniors and people with disabilities by providing a low-cost, personalized grocery shopping and delivery service.

Last year Store to Door made approximately 7,000 deliveries to over 350 homebound seniors and people with disabilities and engaged 250 community volunteers. These in-kind program items will be used for grocery service delivery and order taking. The label maker and rolling storage carts will be used in the processing of client orders - each week we call 275 clients to see how they are and if they have a grocery order. GPS equipment that can be plugged into any vehicle would be very helpful in sending delivery drivers on new routes. We could use as many as 2 of these and our DREAM is to have an electric vehicle for the organization to deliver to clients with fuel efficiency.

How to Donate: If you would like to donate these items, simply contact Mary Bedard at: or call 503-200-3333. Thank you!


Volunteers of America Oregon

Items Needed: Hygiene Items (soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, toothpaste, brushes, laundry supplies, diapers, wipes)
Household items (kitchen utensils, microwave, crockpot, bed sheets, towels, blankets, pillows)
Clothing (jacket, hat, gloves, heavy duty jeans, sweater, sweatshirt)
Books, school supplies, & learning aids (from infant to teens)
Transit Passes, Gift Cards, Gas Cards

About Volunteers of America Oregon: Volunteers of America Oregon changes lives by promoting self-determination, building strong communities and standing for social justice. We operate 24 programs that serve the most vulnerable in our community: children & families, seniors, and those transitioning out of prison and in addiction recovery.

Everyone deserves to have their basic needs met as a foundation to being self-determined, strong, and safe. Bring a sense of gratitude and belonging to a family experiencing isolation and transition this holiday season. Your donation will not only meet their immediate physical needs, but fulfill a deeper need to feel valued and supported by their community.

How to Donate: Donations will be accepted at 537 SE Alder Street from December 3rd – 21st 2013 on Tuesdays & Fridays from 5pm – 8pm, and Saturdays 9am – Noon.

Please contact to confirm your preferred drop-off time in case we need to make changes to our schedule and/or to request a toolkit for running your own donation drive.

Community Partners for Affordable Housing

Items Needed: We would like new, unwrapped children's toys and gifts (no clothes please) in the $15-$20 range. Gifts can be for any age child (ages 0-18). Gift cards are also welcome.

Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH) distributes these gifts to low-income families living in our affordable housing properties as a way to help families stretch their limited budgets during the holiday season. This then allows families to cover their monthly expenses during the holiday months and remain stable in their housing.

About Community Partners for Affordable Housing: we promote a healthy community through the development of permanent affordable housing, sustainable economic growth and community-based partnerships.

How to Donate: Donors can drop items off at our main office (6380 SW Capitol Hwy Suite 151 Portland, OR 97239) anytime between Monday, December 2nd and Friday, December 13th, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Christmas Family Adoption Foundation

Items Needed: Wrapped gifts, clearly labeling each package.

Please purchase a gift card for the family’s Christmas meal. They recommend $25 per family member (a family of 4 would receive a gift card for $100.00, a family of 5 would receive one for $125.00).

About Christmas Family Adoption Foundation: The Christmas Family Adoption Foundation (Adopt-A-Family) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that provides assistance to those who would otherwise not have a holiday celebration. They achieve this by connecting people in the community to families in need.

Their goal is to adopt at least 100 families this holiday season to provide children with toys, clothing, and other necessities. In addition, they provide the entire family with household essentials and gift certificates for a wonderful holiday meal.

How to Donate:  Read about available families.

Contact Linda Trigg to verify the family is still available.

Decide how involved you want to be with that family.

  • Do you want contact with the family or stay anonymous?

  • Would you like to deliver the gifts yourself or have the foundation do it?

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