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Oregonians Can Donate Time, Skills for National Volunteer Month


It’s National Volunteer Month, and despite the lingering pandemic, people continue to be interested in giving their time to help out their communities.

April is National Volunteer Month, recognizing the time people give to help their local communities. John Afryl is with Hands On Greater Portland, the largest volunteer center in Oregon and a program of the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. He says the past two years of the pandemic have been challenging for nonprofits that rely on volunteers. However, Afryl says interest in volunteering never fully waned.

“One of the things that’s been so rewarding the past couple of years is seeing the influx of people really wanting to give back and support their community,” said Afryl.

Afryl says social distancing rules and other regulations due to COVID-19 often meant organizations had to limit the number of opportunities available. His group pairs people with volunteer opportunities in the areas that interest them. He says in pre-pandemic times, about 20-thousand people used its site every year.

Arfyl says volunteering is an easy first step to becoming engaged in community issues.

“As a result of that experience, they can feel so much more empowered, said Afryl. They can understand, ‘Here’s something I can do that’s tangible, that’s really making a difference in my community.’ That makes them feel so much more fulfilled about their role in society.”

Afryl notes there are ways even for people with busy schedules to get involved, including some duties that are just two to three hours in length and don’t require training or an ongoing commitment.

“You can just go and take immediate action, said Afryl. You can fit volunteerism into your schedule, no matter if you are working days or nights, or weekends.”

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