A few weeks ago I spent the day volunteering at a local clothing closet for low-income families in our local Portland Public School District. I’ve done this volunteer work before, but it felt different this time.
First, there were huge, overwhelming amounts of donated clothes and shoes (crammed into a VERY tiny space). The organizers blame the Marie Kondo craze. Everyone is purging their homes and donating huge quantities of materials to local nonprofits who are struggling to keep up.
Second, there was a large number of families in line for the clothing closet when I arrived. It was super busy as I jumped in right away to help an immigrant family with six children. The mother did not speak English, so her teen daughter was there to translate and make decisions on what clothes and shoes her brother and sisters would like.
I was frantically trying to match children’s ages with shoes, pants, and top sizes. I was working in the new clothing section, which is more controlled. In the used clothing section, families can pick out more themselves (with a personal shopper).
I also helped a family which looked like they were fostering five children; I’m guessing from Syria. Again, the teenage daughter was operating like the mother, trying to keep track of which of her brothers needed new underwear. “Just take the underwear,” I suggested :)
Honestly, it was intense and overwhelming and a bit emotional. Over my shift, I saw so much need and it really looked different for each family. But there were also people there with Christmas sweaters, wearing festive clothing, keeping their spirits up.
I came home so very grateful.
Grateful to PaperCut for giving me a day away from my desk to give back to my local community.
Grateful for all the opportunities and gifts that come my way each and every day.
Grateful for my home, my family, for good jobs.
And so grateful to work with my global Customer Care team; a group of kind and caring people that make each day fun and rewarding.