They are library pages and dog walkers, grant writers and budget wonks. They are neighbors who serve homemade fare at a nearby school, who help unemployed residents look for work, who support men and women rebuilding their lives after an incident with the law.
Multnomah County staff joined families and friends in a packed boardroom Tuesday night to applaud the hundreds of volunteers who serve across the county.
“Really we couldn't do any of the work we do at the county without volunteers like you, who are doing so much for the people we serve,” said Commissioner Sharon Meieran, who gave out certificates and hugs during the 31st annual celebration.
The event honored volunteers serving county departments, as well as those serving through partner organizations and local nonprofits. Melinda Hickey, volunteer coordinator with Animal Services, thanked a cadre of volunteers who do everything from petting cats and changing water, to greeting visitors and printing ID badges. Volunteers put in about half as many hours as the entire paid staff, she said.
The volunteers with the A Home for Everyone anti-homelessness initiative and Joint Office for Homeless Services are courageous, powerful speakers and outspoken advocates, said Joint Office staffer Rhea Graves.
“We are so grateful for the contributions of our incredible community volunteers,” said Sally Erickson, program manager for the Joint Office.
Among the volunteers honored were the members of the county’s Budget Advisory Committees.
“You spent many hours in meetings, in discussion, and examining budgets and programs when you could have been home relaxing or doing just about anything else,” said Brenda Morgan, program manager for the Office of Community Engagement. “Your involvement in county decision making is one way we keep our democracy alive. Thank you for your unstoppability and your care.”