Waste-free holiday: Volunteering as a family is a priceless gift

Waste-free holiday: Volunteering as a family is a priceless gift
Posted on 12/19/2018

What better way to celebrate the season of giving than to give time and talent by volunteering as a family! While it might be a challenge to coordinate everyone’s schedules, volunteering as a family has many worthwhile benefits. Children learn to give back to the community when they see firsthand how volunteering makes a difference and how good it feels to help others and enact change. It’s also a valuable way to get to know organizations in the community and find resources and activities for children and families.


Time, enthusiasm and skills are valuable gifts – and they’re waste-free! Volunteers who take time to help with needed services will find they also receive a valuable gift. According to a report issued by the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteering has been shown to increase or preserve physical and mental health. Volunteers tend to feel happier and live longer than those who do not volunteer. Overall, 76 percent of US adults who volunteer say volunteering makes them feel physically healthier. Volunteers also have a 27 percent greater chance of finding employment than non-volunteers. For more information on the benefits of volunteering, visit http://www.nationalservice.gov/vcla/research.


“Inviting friends and relatives to join you can create precious memories that feel good all over,” said Kelly Bell, Lane County’s Master Recycler Program coordinator. “Be sure to include children in volunteer service. People who volunteer as youth are twice as likely to volunteer as adults than those who don’t experience the ‘glow’ as kids.”


Below are just a few examples of places that individuals and families can volunteer. These waste-based non-profits provide valuable services to our community while diverting tons of materials from the landfill every year.


BRING Recycling at 4446 Franklin Blvd. has different types of volunteer opportunities depending on the time of year. To volunteer in the sales, warehouse, or grounds keeping area please contact BRING at info@bringrecycling.org.


Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts (MECCA) has opportunities for volunteers to work in the store sorting/organizing, learn to use the cash register, assist in kids’ classes and more. Call 541-302-1810. MECCA is located at 449 Willamette Street next to the Amtrak station.


NextStep Recycling offers volunteers opportunities to gain valuable skills training in recycling, electronics refurbishing, information technology and administration, marketing and retail sales. Volunteers also get access to reusable technology at low cost; enjoy the challenge of making old computers and other electronics work again; work with and learn about electronic devices they have never seen before; and keep obsolete electronics out of landfills. Volunteers must first attend a Volunteer Orientation which is held every Saturday starting at 10:30 a.m. at 2101 West 10th Avenue, Eugene. For more information, contact 541-686-2366.


St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County (SVdP) lists a variety of opportunities on its volunteer webpage, including some needs specific to the holiday season. Visit http://www.svdp.us/get-involved/volunteer/ to view volunteer opportunities with St. Vincent de Paul and complete an online volunteer application. Volunteer Coordinator Ashely Hensley can be reached at ashely.hensley@svdp.us or 541-743-7147.


United Way of Lane County can help connect volunteers with organizations in need of helping hands. Visit https://www.volunteeruwlane.org/ to find out how you can get involved.


These suggestions provided by the Waste Free Holidays campaign in partnership with the Lane County Master Recycler Program, BRING, MECCA, NextStep and St. Vincent de Paul.


Waste Free Holidays Campaign

Lane County Master Recyclers invite community members to celebrate the season of giving by reducing, reusing, and recycling waste that is typically generated at the holidays. The Waste Free Holidays Campaign highlights several fun, low-cost and simple waste prevention strategies families can use from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day – or any time of year! Visit www.lanecounty.org/wastefreeholidays to view tips and resources to help create a truly enjoyable season. New items are added throughout the season so check back periodically for inspiration.


Lane County Master Recycler Program

Master Recyclers bridge the gap between awareness and action by motivating people to reduce solid waste at home, work and play. Lane County Master Recycler volunteers provide more than 3,000 hours of waste prevention education to residents, businesses and events each year. Visit www.lanecounty.org/masterrecyclers to learn more.