Tuesday, December 29, 2009

End of the year

Hello to all and here's hoping everyone had a safe and happy holiday!

Well, to say that this has been an interesting year would be quite an understatement. It has been full of ups and downs, but mostly ups. We started this group in the beginning of February and it has far exceeded our wildest dreams. We were able to, with the help of many, many volunteers, lend a hand to over 100 families and individuals! That's incredible! Absolutely amazing.

We originally started this to help all of the unemployed people in Portland. To get them out of the house, away from the job search and helping those in our communities that need a hand. We envisioned being able to help 5 or 10 people out. We never imagined that we would be able to help so many.

There are a few regrets. One of the biggest regrets I (Seth) have, is not being able to help more people out because of my battle with alcoholism and depression. There have been times throughout the year that I haven't fulfilled my obligations to my neighbors because of my struggles. For that, I deeply apologize. The new year holds much more promise and I feel that my struggles are quickly fading into my past.

On to happier items! We have been able to do some real good. Make some really positive impacts on people's lives. It has been an incredible journey and well worth the effort. We have made so many new friends because of this. We have met so many wonderful and giving people over the last 10 months. Because of all of you, our faith and hope in humanity has grown exponentially! Thank you.

Our goal for the new year is not only to continue helping those that we can, but also to bring neighbors and neighborhoods closer together. We would like to start hosting neighborhood get togethers and block parties. We would like to start tool and food exchange. We want to start a knowledge exchange by having monthly classes with things like gardening, canning, and cooking as the topics. We want to do anything that brings people closer together as friends and neighbors. The more we know each other, the better off we will all be.

So, please, help us reach out to even more people this year. Volunteer in your area. Get out and help a neighbor. Organize a neighborhood potluck (it's actually pretty easy). Make a point to get out into your neighborhood and introduce yourself to some neighbors you don't know.

Let's all pledge to make a difference in at least one other person's life this year.

All the best,
Seth and Michelle

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Decorating for Christmas

Last week, Michelle and Seth went down to the Human Solutions Warming Center to help put up some Christmas decorations. It's been a hard year for a lot of folks out there and we thought that maybe even a few decorations around the center might brighten their day just a little bit.

So, we put out the call to our volunteers for decorations and food for the center and, once again, you came through for us! A big thank you to Laurie, Margena, Trevor, and Carla for their donations. Over the last month, we have been able to bring hundreds of meals to the shelter. Michelle and Seth spent a few hours down at the center putting up a small tree, window clings and hanging lights. It definitely had a more "homey" feel to it after we were done. We only hope that it brings a smile to some of those families down there.

Thanks again to everyone. You are all making our city, and world, a better place to live. And it really makes us proud to call ourselves Oregonians!

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Season of giving?

Last night, Michelle and I dropped off some food at the Human Solutions Warming Center. We called ahead of time and asked what their greatest need was, and they said microwavable food to go. Cup o soups, soup or chili in the little containers that you can just pop in the microwave. The warming centers are turning so many people away through the winter, but especially now, during this cold snap. They can use these little "meals on the go" for people staying at the warming center or for people that they turn away at the door.

This is such a hard time of year for so many people and now more than ever. There are so many new homeless people and families on the street now because of the economy. They aren't addicted to alcohol or drugs. They aren't career criminals. They are average, everyday people that have fallen on hard times. We wanted to post what we did, not as a congratulatory post, but just to show what can be accomplished with so little. We don't have much, but we have more than a lot of people out there.

Do you realize that you can buy a warm meal for someone for just .28 cents? With the change that is under your couch cushion or in your pocket, you could supply someone with a warm meal (sometimes their only meal of the day).

Michelle and I did some calculations, and for the price of one specialty coffee (which Michelle and I buy for ourselves at least once a week), you could buy 14 hot meals for people that are hungry. That hit us pretty hard when we figured the cost.

Or, if you are really felling generous, you could purchase 150 hot meals for people for around $90. 150?!?!?!? That is a lot of people that you can help and it literally might mean the difference between life and death. It's absolutely incredible what we can do when we put our heart into it.

We, as Oregonians, have thousands of of friends, family, neighbors, and strangers that are struggling just to make it though the day. Wondering where their next meal is coming from or where their children are going to sleep tonight. Wondering if they will survive this bitter cold or if they will succumb to the elements. How horrible must that be?

So, if you have the ability to help this winter, please do so. Please give whatever you can. Food, clothes, toys, holiday decorations, money, hope. Store a bag of clothes or food in your car to hand it out when you see someone in need. These are not nameless, faceless people that you see walking down the street with a shopping cart or standing on a street corner asking for help. These are our neighbors. Our friends. Our family.

Please help in any way you can and have a wonderful holiday season.

Special thanks to Our Own Two Hands for donating money to WGTTH (and making this possible) and to Margena King from King's Embroidery for donating bags and bags of sweatshirts, hats and scarves to help those in need!!

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Human Solutions

This is kind of a long post, but please take a few minutes to read through it. It is so very important.

Last night, Michelle and I dropped off bags full of gloves, scarves, and hats at the Human Solutions Warming Center in NE Portland. We have become familiar with warming centers in the area ever since last winter's Arctic blast came through in mid-December.

This year there are more homeless people than ever before, at least in our lifetime. They are scared, cold, hungry, and losing hope quickly. Entire families have been displaced because of job loss, mounting bills, and the economy in general. Just a couple of years ago, these same families had "normal" lives. They had hopes and dreams. They had aspirations and plans for the future. Now, they wonder where their next meal is coming from and where they and their children will sleep tonight. It's a truly awful and desperate situation. But, this is an area that we can make a big difference. Here's a link to the impact that Human Solutions was able to make last year.

As we were dropping the items off at the warming center last night, the coordinator for the center, Blanchette, asked if Michelle and I would like a tour. We said we would and she showed us their facility. The top floor of the center, is wall-to-wall cots. They can legally house 60 people there every night. Once the center is full, they have to turn people away at the door, sometimes giving them jackets or blankets for the cold night ahead. The people there ranged from single men and women to 4 or 5 person families, some with very young children. There is a kitchenette area with a small refrigerator, a few cupboards and a microwave. There really isn't a place (or hardware) for people to prepare meals, so there are a lot of cup-o-soups and nutrition bars.

She then led us downstairs where they have a makeshift storage area. Here is where they keep some extra clothes and food to hand out to those in need. Sometimes, in very harsh weather, they will use the basement as an overflow area. People aren't allowed to sleep downstairs (fire code), but at least they can get out of the elements for a short time.

We then spoke to her at length about what the center needs to be the most effective. Keep in mind that the age ranges from newborn to adult. Here is a list of some of the items we talked with her about:

Clothing- Especially socks and hoodies. Backpacks are another much needed item. Of course, any type of clothing will help someone. They just had a local bakery donate 200 coats of all sizes, so there are doing okay for now on jackets. Other than that, anything will help.

Food- Food that doesn't take much (or any) prep is great for them. They mentioned cup-o-soups, energy bars, fruit, etc. etc. Breakfast items that children can eat on the way to school is another big need for them. Here's a link to a wish list that they have.

Christmas decorations- This might not seem like a "need" but we think it might be more needed than a lot of things. They have no holiday decorations at all. They would like to be able to put up lights and other decorations, if for no other reason, to lift every one's spirits for a day or two.

We also spoke about how volunteers can help. Here are just a few of the ways Blanchette mentioned:

1) Someone with the time and supplies to come down to the warming center and help make some old-school Christmas decorations. Paper chains and snow flakes that the children can make and hang around the warming center.

2) Anyone willing to transport people to another shelter. When they have to turn someone away or when a family is moving to another, more long term, shelter, they would love for someone to be able to take them, instead of just giving them the address and making them find their own way there.

3) Perhaps someone could come into the center and read stories to everyone, especially the children. Or maybe just bring some general crafts for everyone to enjoy. Anything to let these people know that they have not been forgotten by society.

4) Any person, or group, willing to bring hot or prepared meals for everyone would be more appreciated than you know. They had a group from a local business office bring in an entire Thanksgiving meal for people staying at the shelter. Soups, stews, chilis or even sandwiches would be a welcomed sight at the center.

5) Something else Blanchette mentioned was perhaps getting stockings for everyone for Christmas and filling them with fruit, candy, gift cards. The families staying at the center don't have any type of storage area, so they have to take everything with them when the leave the shelter every day.

6) Just general, everyday volunteering. Their dream is for someone to show up and say "put me where you need me". Anyone with a little time is more than welcome to stop by the center to lend a hand.

These are just a few of the ways we can help out. If you are at all interested in volunteering at, or donating to the center, please call Blanchette at 503-810-1352. The hours for dropping off donated items is 7pm-10pm ever day, but I'm sure they would accommodate for your schedule.

Again, we think this is a wonderful organization and they are truly making a real impact in our community. Please try to lend a hand to them this year.

Thank you to everyone and we hope to see you all soon!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Some little things you can try...

Hey all! We hope and wish that everyone is having a good start to the Christmas season.

I don't think that we need to remind anyone that this has been a really rough year for a lot of people. The worst year in a lot of people's lives. Many people out there don't even have the basics. Even though I have been unemployed for a year now, we are still very blessed. We have each other, our home, our animals, food, clothes, heat. We have everything we need and more.

Other's are not so fortunate. 1000's of people, in Oregon alone, have lost their jobs and homes. Many feel alone and without hope. All they want for Christmas is to feel safe and warm. To feel that there are people out there who care about them and their families. To feel a little hope. As friends, neighbors, and strangers we can, in this season of giving, tell them in no uncertain terms that YES, we do care. To remind them that we are here for them, as we hope they would be for us. Those of us with an abundance can share with those who are going without. We can remake this world as it should be.

Here are just a few things that Michelle and I are doing to try and help those in need. These suggestions go for anyone that you know or see that needs help. Perhaps a neighbor who lost their job and is struggling, or a family member who needs a little help. That homeless person that you drive by everyday on your way to work. A co-worker that you know has fallen on rough times. They all are deserving and they all could use some compassion. And, if you think that the donation might be embarrassing for the person (especially a neighbor or co-worker), leave a bag of clothes or food on their doorstep or on their desk when they are away. It's so very hard to ask for help, but it is so very appreciated when it comes. Here are a few ideas:

Cleaning out the closets. Grab any socks, hats, gloves, jackets, pants, shirts, etc. that you don't use anymore. Put them in bags in the back of your car. Anytime you see someone on the street that looks cold or wet or under dressed, pull over and offer them some clothes. We promise they will be more thankful than you can imagine.

Clean out your pantry. You know those boxes and cans of food that sit in your cupboard month after month? Pull them out and offer them to someone who needs some food. Again, this could be a friend, relative, neighbor or even a stranger. If you don't know anyone that could use the food or if you are uncomfortable handing it out, please donate your extra food to a food bank. There are tons of them in the area. Here's a link to a list of food donation places in the Portland area.

If you know of someone that is having a really rough year or someone who might spend the holiday alone, invite them to your home for Christmas. Nothing could be more about the spirit of the holidays than sharing your home with someone who doesn't have a place to go. It's a pretty cool feeling!

Maybe you just cleaned out your closets and you don't really have any "extra" food in the pantry. You can always take a few extra dollars (if you have them) and go shopping for food, clothes or toys to donate. To make your dollar really stretch, try shopping at places like the Grocery Outlet or another bargain store. Or maybe stop by a second hand store and pick up some clothes or toys to give away. For people that have nothing, even second hand is a tremendous gift.

Donate new or used dog/cat food and toys to a local pet shelter (or again, to someone you know that might be struggling). We donate a lot of doggy items and food to F.I.D.O (Friends Involved in Dog Outreach). Here's a link to their wish list this year (Click here). Or, another great program to donate to is the Feral Cat Coalition. Of course there are many other great animal shelters that could use some help.

Another great way to help people is, obviously, to volunteer your time. This time of year is a great chance for families to volunteer together. A local food bank or soup kitchen is a great reminder for people (especially children) to truly appreciate everything that they have in their lives. It really makes an impression on you when you see another human being that has absolutely nothing. And of course this year, there are more people than ever in the food bank and soup kitchen lines.

And the last suggestion is just a little one. It's something that we have done over the past few years, and it's effects are quite remarkable. Next time you are at the grocery store, pick up a box or bag of small candy canes (or full size candy canes, if you prefer). Keep them on you at all time throughout the month. Every time you are out and about (i.e. grocery or gift shopping) take a look around you and see who looks like they could use a smile. Walk over to that person, hand them a candy cane and tell them "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas" or whatever you wish to say. It really is amazing how many people stop and smile. Okay, at first, they might look at you like you're a little bonkers but then they take the candy cane, smile and walk away a little happier than they were before you walked over to them. It's a blast.

There are so many ways to spread hope. Gifts and toys are wonderful, but if you can actually give someone a little hope, it's worth all the toys in Santa's sleigh.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A few Opportunities

Here is a listing of a few different opportunities coming up in the next couple of weeks. Please feel free to sign up for one (or all of them!)

Loaves and Fishes is looking for volunteers for two hour shifts to hand out Donate Dinner Cards at local stores. Please check their site at http://donatedinner.org

We also have some opportunities to help the NWPM. Take a look at these:

NWPM Food Pantry needs at least one additional driver with a big vehicle who could get a delivery from the Oregon Food Bank at least twice a month. The best day would be Thursdays, Wednesdays would be second choice. In an ideal world we'd also do an additional pick up on MONDAYS. There is quite a bit of flexibility as to the exact time. We'll also be looking for more helpers to unload the delivery at the pantry, as it is a pretty big job! If you would be willing to give this a try, please contact Kelly or Preston at 503-221-1224.

Do you play the piano? A volunteer has been requested to help provide music at the Rosenbaum Plaza (12th & Washington) Holiday Party on Dec. 15th from 1pm- 3pm. Piano provided!

Looking for festive a festive volunteer opportunity? On Saturday, Dec. 12th NWPM volunteers are needed to wrap gifts at the Holiday Village in NW. More details available upon request.

Ongoing Helping Hands: A fragile woman who lives downtown needs help with household upkeep and friendly visiting a few times a month. She has a small dog.

NWPM has the following ongoing volunteer opportunities:
Individuals needed on short notice to fill-in for regular volunteers in anticipation of the upcoming flu season. Contact info@nwpm.org or 503-221-1224

Volunteer delivery drivers: deliver meals on wheels requests & food box deliveries during winter months when the need is up. Contact Kelly or Preston at 503-221-1224

Loaves & Fishes: help serve hot meals to our elderly neighbors at the Irving Street L&F site at First Immanuel Lutheran Church. Contact Kelly at kelly@nwpm.org or 503-221-1224 ext. 105

Recreation trip drivers: drive the NWPM mini-bus to and from fun, community adventures. Volunteer office receptionist/database support: Work at the NWPM office at Montgomery Park with the friendly staff. Contact Codi at 503-221-1224 ext. 103 or codi@nwpm.org

Here is an email that We've Got Time to Help received yesterday. Please take a look if you've Got the Time to Help!

"I am helping my brother with a project and we need some help. He just moved here from North Carolina and he has not been able to find a job. His wife is in school and pregnant with their first child, due in February. Since my brother has had such a difficult time finding work he decided to try something he is good at-- woodworking. We are making handmade wooden lamps to sell at local holiday bazaars. We stumbled upon the Expo Christmas bazaar and they have space for us but it starts in 10 days. Since we are new to this we don't have a stockpile of lamps sitting around.

So, our project: we are looking for anyone with woodworking experience that might be willing to help with some pretty straight forward cutting, sanding and maybe drilling. I take care of the lampshades which involves a lot of sewing. If there was someone that wanted to help with that too it would be great.

Thanks if you can post this. I have been following your group for a while and would be happy to return the volunteering favor! Oh, could you also add me to your email list, I just saw that the format has changed."


These are just a few of the projects that we have going on. If you have the time, please contact the names above, or shoot us an email to let us know.

Thanks to everyone out there and keep up the good work!

Seth and Michelle

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Our Own Two Hands

Earlier this week, we were contacted by an organization called Our Own Two Hands. They wrote us an email stating that they had seen and heard of the work we were doing in the community and wanted to help us with our causes. The email then stated that they were donating $500 to the group to use how ever we see fit.

Now, we have to admit, at first we were a little skeptical. We looked up their organization and did some Googling on their board members. Everything looked legitimate, so we emailed them back with our address.

Sure enough, in yesterday's mail, there was the check. We couldn't believe it. What an amazingly generous action from these wonderful people! There are a couple of projects that have been on hold because of the lack of funds. But this changes everything!

A great big THANK YOU to the board of Our Own Two Hands for voting to donate some much needed money. There is no way to express our gratitude to them! Here is a link to the list of the Board of Directors who made this all possible. Please check them out.

We also wanted to give a big THANK YOU to whomever submitted our name to them for review.

Please take a look at their site here Our Own Two Hands and support them in any way that you can!

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Share your stories

Over the last couple of months, and especially since the Guidepost article came out, we have been keeping really busy. There are lots of big and small projects going on that have needed a lot of attention. We can always use more help, if you've got time.

There are so many good things going on during these dark times, but they are hard to see sometimes. It's hard to see and find the wonderful things going on when everyday is a struggle just to survive and to put food on your table.

We have met so many amazing people over the last many months and heard so many inspiring stories. It has been such a privilege to work side-by-side with everyone. To see strangers helping each other in their greatest time of need. We are lucky enough to get to see and hear these stories everyday.

What we would love to do is to share real-life stories with as many people as possible. The more hope you can see and hear, the more hope you take with you.

So please, share with us your stories of hope and caring. Tell us your story of lending someone a hand. Or, share with us a story of someone you saw giving selflessly. Let us know about the good things that you see going on around you.

The stories are there, sometimes you just have to be ready to see it.

Good luck and we can't wait to hear from you.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

A little story...

This story is not about Michelle and I (Seth). It is not meant to be a self-congratulatory anecdote. It is meant to illustrate how easy it is to not help someone in need. How easy it is to ignore those around us.

Last night, Michelle and I ran up to Safeway to get some items for dinner. We were both hungry and tired from the day and we were being pretty grumpy. The store was very busy and noisy, which didn't help our mood at all. After waiting in line for what seemed like 20 minutes, we finally checked out and left through the big double doors.

As we exited the building, our arms were overloaded with bags of groceries and 3 cases of soda. We hadn't grabbed a cart when we went in, so we just decided to lug the groceries out to the car. On our way out, we were approached by 2 disheveled looking women. The younger (teenager) of the two women asked us if we had a quarter. Michelle and I both said "no, sorry. We don't have any change". We then proceeded to the car.

As we approached the car, Michelle asked me if I heard what the young woman said after we walked away. I said no, I hadn't. Apparently, when we said "no" and walked away, the young girl had said "Oh no, mom. What do we do now"? We both felt a large pang of guilt. At the car, Michelle dug through her purse to get some change. We turned around in time to see 2 men, giving them some change. We looked at each other, wondering what to do next, and slowly climbed into the car. As we drove towards home, Michelle started to cry. I asked her what was wrong, and she stated that we were very callous to just say no and walk away from the women. After talking about it for another minute or so, we turned the car around and headed back to see if we could help in any way.

We pulled up to the store again and found the women at a telephone booth, trying to place a call. We slowly walked up to them and said "excuse me". They turned around, we noticed that they weren't disheveled at all. In fact, it was just an awkward teenager and her mom. They looked completely "normal". In our grumpy mood and our haste to get home, we had seen something that wasn't really there at all. We saw what we expected to see from a couple of people begging money outside a store. I believe it was Henry David Thoreau who said, "We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake..." No words have ever been more true.

As we approached, they turned to greet us. Michelle held out a handful of change to the mom. She graciously took the gift and said, very genuinely, "thank you"! We then asked her if there was anything that we could do to help them. She said "we were just evicted a couple of days ago, and we are trying to call someone who can wire us some money". Michelle and I both started crying. We told her how sorry we were for walking by. How sorry we were that we didn't stop and offer help before. We gave them our phone number and told then to call for any reason. We told her that we had some extra food they could have, a computer and phone that they could use, or just a place to rest if they needed it. We told them again how very sorry we were and how sorry we were that they were in such an awful situation.

As we drove back home, still crying, Michelle reminded me that we had an extra Rose City Resource Guide (www.rosecityresource.org) at home. It's a great little booklet of community and city resources for those in need. They work in conjunction with 211.org. As soon as we got home, I rushed in and grabbed one of the booklets. We then went back to the store and gave them the guide. Once again, they thanked us and gave us very warm and bright smiles.

This young family will probably never call. We will probably never see them again. Hopefully, they got some money together and are on their way to a safe place. The point is not that we helped them, it's that they helped us. This young mother and daughter have changed our lives. It opened our eyes. Eyes that had begun to close without either of us noticing. As Michelle so eloquently stated "Everyone (meaning us) needs a good kick in the teeth sometimes". I couldn't agree more.

As we returned home, we cried in silence. We were thinking about how cold and callous we were during our first encounter with these lost souls. About how we were not practicing what we preach. We tell everyone we know to stop and help those in need. We tell people to stop making excuses and to just lend a hand. And yet here we were, willing to walk right by someone that had asked us for a measly quarter.

Asked for a little help.

Asked for a little hope.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Marketplace story on American Public Media

Here is a link to the show we were a quick guest on concerning unemployment on American Public Media's show, Marketplace:


Just click on listen to the show button.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Trying to change the way we think

One of the first things that we talked about when we started this group earlier this year was attempting to change they way we all look at different situations and how we view this world. Not only would we be able to help others in need with things like home repair, but maybe also help people see this new world in a new light.

If we could all just slow our pace down a little and take time to notice our neighbors around us, we think this could be a much better place to live. We have really tried to change the way we think. Noticing the homeless person that needs some food, a neighbor that needs a hand with some yard work or even a complete stranger that just looks like they could use a kind word. Before we started this group, we never saw these things. We were too caught up in out own lives to even notice those around us. Now, after working on it, we seem to have a completely new set of eyeballs. They see things that they never saw before. We are paying attention.

There is no feeling in the world like being able to help someone that needs it. Whether it's something big or just a little gesture, it all makes you feel connected.

It's so easy to pass by someone and not even give them a second glance. Next time you see someone who looks like they could use a hand, please stop and take just a minute or two to offer your help. It's a very scary thing to do for a lot of people (including Michelle and I). To step out of your "comfort zone" and go up to a complete stranger and offer help. Sometimes we still have to physically stop walking, turn around and go back to the person.

Here's a few actual excuses that we (Michelle and Seth) have used in the past:

"Oh, we're really busy" or "we need to get to the next place we're going"
"They probably don't need help"
"They look too upset to talk to right now"
"I'm sure someone is coming to help them"
"They have probably already called someone"
"We shouldn't get involved"
"It looks too personal"
"I can't help them" or "I wouldn't know how to help"
"I don't want to embarrass them" or "I don't want to be embarrassed"

There are many, many other excuses that we have used in the past not to help someone. Usually, it all stems from fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of doing or saying something wrong. The only fear that we should really have is the fear of walking away from someone that needs help.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Any electricians have time?

We have had 2 requests this week for electricians for 2 separate projects. Unlike normal, these are paying jobs and we would love to be able to help some folks out and put a couple of people to work.

If yo have the time and knowledge, we would love to hear from you! Please just email us at wevegottimetohelp@q.com to let us know that you can lend a hand.

Also, we just received a request from someone that needs help putting up a small fence (roughly 15ft) between their home and their neighbor. They have offered a small payment to anyone that can help out. Got time?

Thanks for all you do,
Seth and Michelle

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Guideposts Article

A few months ago Guideposts Magazine contacted We've Got Time to Help as they wanted to do an article. Seth was interviewed and the article is in the October issue. The interview is now posted on their website. We are unable to get the link to work from our page so please check it out here http://www.guideposts.com/story/jobless-volunteers-tough-times

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Michelle's Mother

Just a quick note to let everyone know what has been going on in our lives outside of our normal routines such as they may be!! My mother has been sick quite a bit lately and was finally diagnosed with Acute Myelomonocytic Leukemia. We have been spending quite a bit of time at the hospital and trying to keep all of her friends and family up to date on her condition and treatment. She is just finishing up her first round of chemo today and has handled it really well. She doesn't like the hospital food so we, by which I mean Seth and my wonderful aunt Kay Wheeler have been taking turns cooking meals for her and will continue to do so as long as the hospital will let her have them and she still has an appetite. She is expecting to be in the hospital for another 2-4 weeks then returning later for another round of chemo. An unexpected consequence of this situation is that I set up another blog that Seth has to maintain when I am unavailable. Sorry sweetie. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

If you would like to personally send her your prayers you can visit her CarePages Blog at https://www.carepages.com/carepages/MargenaKing

I would also like to apologize as I will not be able to involved as much with WGTTH as I would like to be at this time.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Update on OPB's Think Out Loud

Because of the President's address to the country on Tuesday, the OPB radio show (talked about below) will be on this Monday the 21st at 9am. Please listen in if you have the time.

Take care and keep paying it forward!

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

OPB's Think Out Loud - Tuesday Sept. 15th at 9am

After posting a few days ago about what has been going on with Michelle and I over the last few months, and my (Seth) struggles with alcoholism and depression, we have received such wonderful support and amazingly kind words from friends and strangers alike. Thank you to everyone who wrote us and we are still going strong.

The reason for this post is that we were contacted by Sarah Rothenflutch, from OPB's "Think Out Loud" (www.opb.org/thinkoutloud) radio program. She wanted to see how WGTTH was going and to see if we wanted to be on the program again, this time talking a lot more about long-term unemployment and the toll that it takes on people and households.

We agreed to be on and it will air at 9am this coming Tuesday. You can listen online or at 91.5 FM. We are encouraging everyone to listen. Not because we will be on the show, but because there are so many of us in the same boat and there is strength in numbers.

If you know someone who is un/under employed and they are battling with depression or substance abuse, or if they just aren't sure how to deal with their struggles, please have them listen so maybe they will understand that they are not alone. We are all in this together and we will be here to support anyone who is going through rough times.

Thank you again to everyone and we hope to see out out and about in the neighborhood.

As always, please feel free to write us with any questions or comments.

Take care,
Seth and Michelle

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Starting Fresh

Welcome to everyone stopping by. We hope that you are here because you have a willingness and a need to try and make our communities better places to live.

I (Seth) have to apologize for not keeping this movement rolling forward. We were going so strong for so long and then, for myriad reasons, I settled into a pretty nasty bout of depression and, honestly, my alcoholism took over.

I have struggled with alcoholism for many, many years now. My propensity for drinking, coupled with the fact that I have been unable to find a job for 9 months, sent me spiraling downward. I lost the ability to act on anything. It was a major struggle just to get out of bed in the morning.

I, with a world of help from Michelle (thank you, sweetheart), am starting to turn things around now. Between medication and counseling, I am feeling great and getting stronger everyday. I am ready to restart this movement and get things rolling again.

Again, I apologize if I let anyone down. I hope that I can start to make a difference again.

Over the next few days, we will be updating our project list and will also be sending out emails to our volunteers (read: neighbors) so that we can get moving on some projects. Please let us know if you can help or if you know of any projects that we could get involved with.

I struggled with whether or not to talk about my problems on here. I thought about it for some time. I finally decided to, partially, in hopes that it may help someone else if they are going down a similar road. None of us are immune to having problems and it's good to remind yourself of that every now and then. We are all human and very prone to not always making the right decisions.

Please feel free to write us at wevegottimetohelp@q.com with any questions you have or to sign up for our email updates. We will be sending out some emails in the next few days describing some new projects and updates on others.

Thank you to everyone who has continued to help their neighbors and have done all they can to help their communities.

Take care and we hope to see you all soon!

Seth and Michelle

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Meet and Greet today Cancelled

Seth woke up with a fever and not feeling well so we are cancelling the meet and greet scheduled for today. When Seth is feeling better we will reschedule.
Thanks to everyone for all you do to make this world better one neighbor at a time.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Water Needed Everywhere

It has been record setting temperatures in the Portland area this week. We are looking at today possibly being the 4th day in a row with over 100 degrees. It was 111 on our back porch yesterday afternoon. This is so unusual for this area and people are unprepared for this type of weather. It has been over 90 for going on two weeks. Quite a few of the local cities and counties has opened up cooling centers for everyone. One local news station has provided a list here.

Seth and I have been handing out water to everyone we see on the street. There have been people waiting for the bus, people who wave signs advertising a business, homeless people with no place to go to cool off, the list goes on with the common theme of these people can't get out of the heat. Everyone needs water. We have been using empty milk gallons, 1 and 2 ltr pop bottles, and purchased a few cases of bottled water. We froze some and just refrigerated others. I keep a cooler in my car for anyone I see on my way to/from work. Seth has been walking around the neighborhood a few times a day. Anything helps.

Please, if you can, help anyone you see. Water is relatively inexpensive.

If you have to be out & about yourself could you take an extra water bottle or two? Help an elderly neighbor unload groceries to get out of the sun quicker? Maybe you see someone who has a hanging flower basket that needs a bit of water. When the temps are 77 at 6:30 am and still over 95 degrees at 10pm it is hard to get out and tend to the yard. The animals are suffering too. We have had both squirrels and birds just sitting in the yard panting. Maybe you have a pie pan to fill with water and put in the shade. Any thought you have could help.
We all pulled together for that extreme snow storm in December. Remember that? What I wouldn't give to go back to that!!! We can do it with the hot weather as well. If you have any other great ideas or things you are doing please post a comment to let everyone know.
Take care and try to stay cool.
Seth and Michelle

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Welcome to the Sun!

Hello to all! We hope that everyone is doing great and staying nice and cool! It is sweltering here in Portland. Possibly above 100 degrees over the next 4 days. Gross!! We feel like we have moved from NE PDX to the surface of the Sun!

Onto happier things, though.

First of all, we are having our monthly meet and greet at our home on August 5th, from 11am-2pm. We would love for everyone to attend. We know that some of you have jobs and other commitments, but we would love a home full of our neighbors!

Changing gears a bit, Michelle and I went to the store yesterday (Michelle's idea) and purchased 2 cases of bottled water ($6 for both) and a couple of bags of ice. Then, we put a cooler full of the water and ice in the car so that when we see someone walking down the street that could use some help cooling off, we can give them a nice, cold water. We have a lot of homeless and near-homeless people in the city and we're sure they could use some water during these HOT days. Or, if you just see someone that looks overheated, you can hand them something to help cool them down. It's a great gesture and, believe us, makes you feel really good! We have also printed off (from our home computer) a list of cooling centers around the city to hand out to people that could use them.

Next item, we have been really busy lately with a ton of small projects. Lots of little things and quick-fixes. That being said, we have quite a few bigger projects on the table and we could sure use some help. Please email us at wevegottimetohelp@q.com if you have some time to help out a neighbor or two.

Can anyone come up with some other ideas for helping out our fellow neighbors? Ways to help cool them off? Let us know and we can put it into action! For instance, we had an extra air conditioner, and we offered it to our next door neighbors since they didn't have one. Every little bit helps. Let us know what you have been doing to help others in need!

And another big THANK YOU to everyone that has gone out on projects this month! It has been hot, muggy and demanding, but you have stepped up and said "I will help my neighbors, no matter what"! You are all amazing people and wonderful neighbors!!

We hope to see a lot of you at the meet and greet and we wish everyone the best during these hot and trying times. Please remember, every little thing you can do for someone else, makes you feel immensely better about yourself! If we could all be there to help each other, then this would be a pretty cool, little rock that we live on.

Take care and see you soon,

Seth and Michelle

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Waterfront Blues Festival 2009 (it was hot)

Yesterday, a large group of volunteers, both from Providence Health Plans and We've Got Time to Help, headed down to the waterfront to help out with the opening day of the Blues Festival. There were 12 of us total and we had an awesome time!

The suggested donation for entry was $10 and 2 cans of food. The Oregon Food Bank is going to be the recipient of all the good will. I can't tell you how many pallets of food and how much money was taken in yesterday, but it was a lot! Quite a few people donated much more than the suggested amounts, both food and money. It was great to see so many people giving so much!

The Festival is still going on today, tomorrow and Sunday, so if you like great music, good food and tasty beer, head on down to the waterfront and don't forget to bring some food for the food bank!

It was the hottest day of the year, but luckily, most of it was spent underneath one of the tents. It was still HOT, though. Here are a few photos from the day.

The main gate where our group was stationed.

Terrance was the life of the party and we couldn't have been happier to have him with us!

Here is David (left) taping up one of the thousands of boxes of donated food, Michele (a newcomer to WGGTH, on the phone) with a people counter in her hand, and Terrance peaking out from behind another volunteer from different group (notice, Terrance is still smiling!).

This photo is of Susan (far left) taking the donation money from visitors, unidentified Hat Man, Charity and Lucas, Jake, and Shanna. Jake was from another group but he was a big help to everyone.

These smiling faces are Donna and her daughter, Katie.

Here is (our) Michelle taking a bag of donated goods to the tent. As she would like me to remind everyone, it was 95 degrees and she had been on the job for a few hours at this point. I still think she is beautiful!

Here is Sam at the benefactor tent. She had an awesome view and she was close to the music, so Sam was one happy woman!
Thank you to everyone who showed up yesterday! It was a great time for a great cause! Hope to see you all soon!
p.s. Did we mention it was hot??
Seth and Michelle (glad to be locked in one small room of the house with a window AC unit)

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Gorge Falls Fest

Every year, the weekend after Father's Day, Multnomah Falls puts on an event called the Gorge Falls Fest. Aaron P., the on site manager for the Forest Service and one of WGTTH's first volunteers, was kind enough to offer us a booth at the event.
Michelle and I were there both Saturday and Sunday from 9am until close. One other volunteer, Mel, came up for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon.
It was a busy weekend with thousands of people coming to the Falls. We talked with hundreds of people that were interested in what WGTTH is about. We handed out a lot of fliers and information about our group. We also handed out tons of the Portland Upside's newest issue.
People were really receptive and gave us a lot of positive feedback. Information about WGTTH is going everywhere from Florida to Italy! How cool is that? Others said that they have heard about us and were interested in becoming a volunteer.
Hopefully, we made a positive difference in some lives. Maybe some of these people will go back home and become even better neighbors than they are right now!
We are already looking forward to next year's event!

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Waterfront Blues Festival

Today, a group of us are going down to volunteer at the front gate at the Blues Festival on the waterfront. Any and everyone is more than welcome to come down and say hi and listen to some great music. We have enough volunteers but we would love see anyone who wants to come down.

We will be there from 3:30-6:30pm tonight and we are really looking forward to it!

On a side note, we apologize profusely for not posting very much as of late. We have been busier than we ever thought possible and we never seem to have enough time to post on the blog.

So, here are a few updates.

We still would love to have some people take over as "project managers" for a project or two. If you would be willing to just be the contact person/scheduler for any project you like, just email us and we will give you all the info you need. Thanks in advance!

This last weekend, we were at Multnomah Falls for their annual Gorge Falls fest event. A big thank you to Aaron Pedersen, the on site manager for the Forest Service at the falls, for helping us get in the event and for getting us some much needed coffee! Thanks Aaron!! It was a great turn out and we talked with hundreds of people during the 2 day event. Also, a big thank you to Mel, who volunteered his Saturday afternoon at the booth. Hopefully, we reached some people and they will go back to their home state and start paying it forward a little!

We still have plenty of projects available for those who want to help. We will be sending a more complete update to everyone in the next day or two and get this blog caught up to where it should be.

Thank you again to everyone who has been out there "neighboring" and keep up the awesome work!!

Seth and Michelle

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Who has Time to Help This Thursday June 18th??

Does anyone have Time to Help finish a bedroom? We were contacted by a woman who needs help finishing a bedroom. She is pregnant with a due date in two weeks. She and her 1 year old daughter have been sleeping on the couch as bedroom needs work. She has all the supplies but doesn't have the knowledge or ability to finish this room. We will be putting up insulation, sheetrocking, mudding and taping, as well as painting. We will be heading out Thursday morning, June 18th to get started on this project and hopefully have this project completed quickly!!
If you have Time to Help this neighbor please email us at wevegottimetohelp@q.com or call 503-953-6018!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why We Do This and Who We Are

We feel that it's probably time to reiterate why we started this community organization and to try and spread our message of hope and community once again.

We started this group, originally, to give every unemployed person a chance to get out into their communities and help their neighbors to try and gain some of the self-respect and self-worth that has been taken from them since losing their job. We know from first hand experience how devastating losing your job can be.

These rough economic times are not just hard on the people that lose their job. It's also hard on the community. Imagine, you lose your job and now there is little or no money coming into the household. Now imagine, your roof starts leaking or your sink backs up. Now, not only do you have a potential emergency on your hands, but you have no money to hire someone to fix it. That's why our mission was to offer anyone help, of any kind. From fixing a broken fence to putting on a new roof. From replacing an outlet to helping with yard work. Whatever the task, we wanted to assist anyone who asked for help.

Everyone, every single person out there, needs some help sometimes. Sometimes you need a lot of help, but, sometimes you just need a hand pulling yourself up. We want to be a group that people can turn to when the feel out of hope or when they feel that there is no one out there that is willing or able to help them.

We want to change the way people think about giving their time to help someone else. We don't want people to see it as "volunteering". Instead, we wish people would try to see it as "Neighboring". When you help a friend or a neighbor out, you don't say "I'm going next door to volunteer by mowing Joe's yard". What you say is "I'm going next door to help Joe out with his yard". You don't "volunteer" your time to help family, friends or neighbors. "Volunteering" your time takes the human element completely out of what you are doing. You are a human being lending a hand out to another human being that needs some help. It's that simple.

It may sound kind of corny, but when you go out and give someone a little bit of your time, you are helping yourself far more than you are helping them. Both of us can tell you from personal experience that after getting back from a project, even if we are tired and sore, that our self-worth is through the roof. We get home, look at each other, and say "we just helped someone through a rough spot in their lives. How cool is that"? There are no words to describe how good we feel inside.

The reported unemployment rate in Oregon is reported at 12.1 percent. But keep in mind, this figure does not include people whose unemployment has run out, who aren't eligible, who never applied, or their application for benefits is delayed. We think that the actual rate is somewhere around the 20 percent mark. 1 out of every 5 people is unemployed. Incredible.

Oregon's population is about 3,800,000 people. Imagine if even half of the unemployed people in this state offered to volunteer 1 hour, once a week. That would be 1,900,000 hours of neighbors helping neighbors every, single week. Can you imagine the good that could be done with that? What tasks could be accomplished? There are only 8,760 hours in a year. That's over 216 years worth of community work that could get done in a week's time. It almost doesn't even compute.

Please come with us on this journey. This journey to change how people see their communities and how they view one another. This is an incredible time to be alive. We have so much power to change not only the lives of others, but our own, as well. There are so many people in need right now and there are so many people that could help them. All you have to do is reach out once. We promise that after helping someone, you will start to notice that you feel better and that you are starting to see that we are all just neighbors. All across your community, your city or town, your state, your country, and your world. We are all just neighbors.

Take care and we hope to hear from a lot of you,

Seth and Michelle

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Can you hear us now?

We sent out an update to all of the good neighbors that have asked to be on volunteer list last week. We have had a few people tell us they don't get any emails from We've Got Time to Help. WGTTH sends out email updates every week or so. In the last update email we asked people to respond if they were receiving our emails. We received about 15 responses. We have a lot more than 15 on our good neighbor email list. A lot more. So we are wondering if people who have requested to get updates are not getting them.
For example, Michelle does not get all the update emails at her work. She gets the emails going to the group but does not get any direct emails from WGTTH or any replies to all. She has questioned the IS guys at her company but they have no idea why she will get a few but not all. Michelle is not the only one. That concerns us as you have specifically requested to get our emails but we are not sure you are receiving them.

If you have requested to receive emails from us but did not receive one dated May 31st please email or call us at 503-953-6018 immediately!!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The next 2 projects!

This Thursday (the 28th) and Friday (the 29th) there are two bigger project going on that we need a lot of help with. First, Thursday is the Extreme Yard Makeover in SE Portland. We will be out there starting at 10am and going until the late afternoon. We have all the materials we need at the site, but we need people, people, people!

The project after that is the next day, Friday, and we will be help a woman in need move from Vancouver to NE Portland. She is renting a large U-Haul, but she definitely could use some help with loading and unloading the truck. It would be great to get 5 or 6 people for the move. The more people we get, the quicker it will go.

Please feel free to call us at 503-953-6018 or email us at wevegottimetohelp@q.com to sign up for one (or both) of these projects! Thank you!!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Extreme Yard Makeover on Thursday

Well, the 4th (and final?) installment of the Extreme Yard Makeover is happening this Thursday the 14th. Here is just one of the before and after photos from the work done so far.

Front yard before...

...and after.

Pretty dramatic change, huh? That being said, there is still some work to be done. Here's a list of what needs to happen before we can complete this project:

Concrete pieces laid down for a pathway (we have the concrete pieces)
Small concrete wall erected for the herb garden (we have the concrete pieces)
Arbor built for the backyard (we have the lumber for it)
White picket fence scraped and painted (we have the paint and brushes)
White picket fence reinforced
White picket fence gate re-hung
Gravel laid down in between the concrete pieces for the walkway (we still need the gravel)

Like we said, there still some work to do but we should be able to get a lot of it finished on Thursday. There are no special skills needed for this project, just a willingness to get your hands a little dirty!

So please, if you have some time to give on Thursday to help out a neighbor, come on down and lend a hand. Email us at wevegottimetohelp@q.com for the address if you can make it!

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

There are a lot of events and projects coming up this month, so please take a few minutes to look at everything that is going on. We will get right to it!

1) The Portland Upside debuts this Friday, May 8th. The creators of the newspaper, Rob and Sara, are looking for some help distributing the 10,000 printed copies all around town. If you can take a few copies to your local neighborhood hangout, or you are willing to drive around town and drop off a lot of copies to different places, that would be great. Just email Michelle and I or contact the Portland Upside directly at portland.upside@gmail.com

2) There is an East Portland Neighborhood Association Annual Clean-up event this Saturday, May 9th, going from 9am-1pm. The event is happening in the Albertson's parking lot on NE 122nd and Halsey. They need some volunteers to help with the event and it's also a great way to get rid of anything just lying around your house. They are accepting: Yard Debris; Wood; Metal; Bicycles. It is $10 per car load and $20 per truck load. Proceeds will be put right back into the local neighborhoods. Let us know if you can make it!

3) Another May 9th project is being put together by F.I.D.O. (Friends Involved in Dog Outreach). They are a wonderful organization who help not only Clackamas County residents, but anyone in the Portland Metro area. They are looking for volunteers to join them at the new shelter for a "Landscape Beautification Party"! Rain or shine, from 10 am until ??
Diana Hallmark is offering sneak preview tours of the new facility as well as hot dogs, hamburgers (and veggie burgers), soda and water. They will be planting and digging and generally playing in the mud, so bring gloves, shovels and other tools as appropriate (knee pads?). Please dress for the weather and plan to have a fun day working and getting to know more about FIDO & meeting other volunteers.

They have several other projects they would like to complete, if they can get enough volunteers.
Also, if you have a wheel barrow that you can bring, that would be great. They hope to be moving gravel and creating a pathway or two. Just let us know if you can make it. It really is a terrific cause!

4) Also on Saturday, May 9th there is a benefit auction for Rose Haven, a women's and children's shelter. They need 2-3 volunteers to help with the event on Saturday night, between 4pm - 10:00pm. There will be food for the volunteers as well as raffle prizes, and everyone will get to enjoy the entertainment as well. Please contact Ellen at 503 784-6192 if you can help!

5) One of our volunteers is the lead singer in a band called The Augmentors. She and her band are having their first Portland show on Sunday, May 10th starting at 9pm. The venue is the Mississippi Pizza Pub at 3552 N. Mississippi. We would love to get a big group of us down there to see her show and to support her. It should be a lot of fun! Think you can make it?

6) On Wednesday, May 20th, we will be hosting our next Meet and Greet here at our home. We would love for everyone to be able to attend. The meet and greet will be from 11am-3pm. Just let us know if you can make it! Let's make this the best meet and greet yet!

7) We have had a few professionals donate some services to our volunteers. First is Ario with Unbound Bodywork and Massage. He has offered to give 2 or 3 free massages, per week, to We've Got Time to Help volunteers that go out on any projects! How cool is that? You can contact him directly and let him know that you would like to set up an appointment. His contact info is: Phone: 503 841 2556 and email: ariolynch@gmail.com

Also, Peter Chee of Peter Chee Photography, has offered to take photos/head shots of any of our volunteers who need them for job hunting or attaching to resumes (again, for free). You can email Peter at peter@petercheephotography.com to set up a time to have your photo(s) taken. Anything to help in these slow economic times!

We also have a licenced counselor who is willing to speak with people that need someone to talk to. Please email Jennifer at jenniferblakecounseling@gmail.com and let her know what you need. What a tremendous and generous offer from Jennifer.

8) We have added a few new projects and we could sure use quite a few volunteers for a whole host of Projects coming up. You can take a look at the Project Page to see if there is something that you can help with. There is everything from gardening to construction to driving. Please see if you have a few extra hours in your week to help out some of these wonderful people!

We've had a few Projects sitting on the table for a while and Michelle and I have been trying to get to them all, but we need some help. Just email us at wevegottimetohelp@q.com to let us know what you can help with.

And last, but certainly not anywhere near least, we are going to start a Monthly Volunteer Day where will be going to one of our volunteers homes and giving them a hand with anything they need help with. We have our first nominee for May (we are keeping it a secret, though) and we will be sending out information as the day draws closer. So neighbors, start thinking about what you would like or need to get done around your home and let us know. This will be a small way to give back to all of you that have donated your time, energy and ideas to those in need!

Thank you to all!

Contact us for any reason at wevegottimetohelp@q.com

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Monday, May 4, 2009

More Amazing People! Deb and Jeff

We received a call from a woman who had been following our blog for a while. Deb and her husband, Jeff, were in the process of moving and had some extra things they no longer needed. Instead of donating them to a local charity where they could receive a tax write off they offered them to us to help with projects. They believed in what we are doing and wanted to help us continue the good work. Jeff even dropped the items off at our house. They donated painting supplies, yard tools and other miscellaneous construction items that will definitely make continuing to do what we do easier in the future.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to Deb and Jeff!! We were overwhelmed with your generosity and it just shows us time and time again, how many good people there are in the world.
Thank you so much and we wish you the best on your next stage in life.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

1,000,000 kind acts

1 Million Kind Acts - Let's change the world!

There are all sorts of kind acts that we can do for each other. Our newest project is to complete 1,000,000 kind acts throughout the remainder of the year. Please email your stories (and photos, if you have them) of nice things being done for those who need it. We can all make this world a better place if we just give a little of ourselves. Each and every one of us has the opportunity to make someone’s life better. Let’s take that opportunity and make the most of it.

For instance, you can:

1. Help a neighbor carry in their groceries from the car
2. Lend a neighbor a hand with a project (such as fencing or roofing)
3. Smile at a stranger
4. Stop to see if someone needs help if they are broken down by the side of the road
5. Bring you neighbor (whom you know or don’t know) a pie or cake
6. Mow your neighbor’s lawn
7. Help your neighbor push their car out of the snow
8. Let someone stay with you while they get their finances in order
9. Help someone with their homework
10. Compliment someone on their dress or suit
11. Make, and hand out, some sandwiches (peanut butter or baloney) to homeless people in your area
12. Offer your professional services for free to someone who needs it
13. Pay for the groceries for the person in front of you
14. Pay for the coffee for the person in line behind you
15. Free your neighborhood of garbage by doing a (group?) trash pick up
16. Combine you and your neighbor’s resources and do something for another neighbor in need
17. Greet every new neighbor that moves onto your block with a smile and a handshake
18. Volunteer your time to help anyone in need
19. Understand that we are all human and we all make mistakes
20. Let a car cut in front of you without getting upset

These are just 20 of the examples we thought of. Please email us at wevegottimetohelp@q.com and tell us your stories. We will post every story on our website so that we can give new ideas to people and, maybe, just maybe, make this world a better place. We would love 1 million stories by the end of the year. Do you think it can be done? Please let us know what you are doing or have done, for your neighbors, friends and family. Take care.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Busy week starting tomorrow 4/28!

Good morning to all!

This is going to be a really busy week and we could sure use some help. We have quite a few projects going on and we would love to get them all completed! We still need some neighbors to sign up for these projects and can't do all of this alone.

The first project we have going on is Project #24 that involves sheet rocking, mudding and taping and painting a small bedroom and bathroom This project is scheduled to happen on Wednesday the 29th. The next is Project #27 that is basically patching a few small holes and painting an office and hallway for a battered women's and children's shelter We are scheduled to be there on Thursday the 30th. The next on the list is to finish is Project #19. We still need to rototill, build a garden, lay a brick pathway, haul some debris away and to build an arbor. We are looking at going out all day Friday the 1st of May. Also on tap for this week is just the moving of some large potted plants, from inner SE to N Portland. Anyone with a truck or small pickup could get this one done.

If you can lend a hand with any of these projects, please email us at wevegottimetohelp@q.com and let us know which project(s) you are going to help with. Thank you!

We also have a lot of other projects coming up and we need more help! If anyone has some time to give to your neighbors in need, we would really love to hear from you. Thank you all for everything that you have been doing for our communities and keep up the great work!!

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We've Got Time to Help is asking for help

It's ironic, I suppose, that Michelle and I (Seth) have been avoiding, at all costs, asking directly for help for us. We tell people to call or write us if they need help. We extoll the virtues of asking for help and counting on us and all of our neighbors to help meet your needs. We firmly believe that everyone should feel comfortable in asking for help from neighbors, both known and unknown. And yet, we put it off asking for help for a million reasons. Fear. Doubt. Frustration. I guess it's time that we practice what we preach. We have a link of the sidebar that says that if you would like to donate items, please contact us, but we haven't ever created a post about it.

Please understand and believe us when we say any donations we get will go directly to We've Got Time to Help projects and we are not asking for personal gain. That is not who we are or what we are about.

So, here's the deal. We need lots of tools, equipment and other various items, so that we can continue to help everyone that asks. We were hoping not to do this but the times we are living in make it necessary. Michelle and I (Seth) are asking for donations of any kind and we have put up a "wish list" for our community organization.

Everyday, we are getting more and more requests for help, and we find ourselves in need of items that Michelle and I can no longer afford to purchase or rent on our own.

Some of the items on our wish list are big items. We understand. But, it can't hurt to ask. Maybe someone doesn't have a need for it anymore and wants for the item to go to good use. We have been able to do so much good already, and we will continue to do so even if we don't get a single donation. We will always do whatever we can to help others in need.

Also, please know that we have done (and will continue to do) everything we can to raise money. Odd jobs, sold personal items on craigslist, selling homemade bird food, and we use any extra income (from Michelle's job) for We've Got Time to Help. We are trying our very best.

Here is our wish list:

Painting supplies - Paint Brushes, Rollers, scrapers, tape, etc.
Yard/Garden tools - Gloves, shovels, rakes, hoes, trowels, pruners/loppers, etc.
Drywall tools - Mesh tape dispensers, joint knives, taping knives, trowels, etc.
Plumbing tools -Wrenches, auger/snake, pipe cutter, etc.
General/Power tools- drills, hand saws, hammers, sockets and wrenches, clamps, tool box, etc.
UPDATE 5/26: We had a wonderful woman donate some garden tools and a 16' aluminum ladder! Tall (16 or more foot) ladders

Supplies/materials that we could use:

Lumber - 1x4, 2x4, 2x6, 2x8, etc. - We could also use fencing material and hardware
Roofing - we have a couple of smaller roofing jobs, but we cannot afford to purchase the materials
Ready-mix concrete and mortar
Hardware - All types of screws, nails, nuts and bolts, etc.
Joint compounds (mud) and tape, caulking, etc.

Here come the really big items:

Pickup Truck - When we started this, we didn't know that we would have a need for one so quickly. We thought that we could wait for a year or two, but we underestimated how many people were hurting out there.

(UPDATE) 5/26: We now have the rights for wevegottimetohelp.com and .org. We will be working on it for a few weeks and hopefully have it up and running sometime in June.
Website - A website would be so much more user friendly than the blog. We could put so much more information on it and be able to help that many more people.

Laptop - When we are out on projects, we are not near our home computer and there have been too many times that we have missed an emergency email or we need to find information for a project or we need to post a quick call for help.

Major tools - Lawn mowers, weed eaters, chainsaw, edgers, trimmers, air compressor, nail guns, power saws, etc.

If we could get some of these items, we would be in such better shape. We don't want anyone to feel obligated to donate items. We just thought that maybe there were some unused items out there that could be put to some great use. Basically, we need just about anything you can think of as our project list is extremely varied (and continues to grow).

Thank you so much to those who have already donated items and money. You are truly wonderful and giving. Normally, we would go without rather than to ask for such grand items. But in this case, if we can get the items we need, we could literally help hundreds and (and eventually) thousands more. If you can donate, please contact us at wevegottimetohelp@q.com and let us know!

Thank you again to everyone who has donated time, energy and goods to help those in need.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Extended Neighbor Network

From dictionary.com the definition of Neighbor:

1. a person who lives near another.
2. a person or thing that is near another.
3. one's fellow human being: to be generous toward one's less fortunate neighbors.
4. a person who shows kindliness or helpfulness toward his or her fellow humans: to be a neighbor to someone in distress.

From the first days of We've Got Time to Help Michelle and I have said, as loud and as clear as possible, that we will gather volunteers from all the different communities in Portland to help those in need. No matter what the need, if we gather enough volunteers, we can accomplish anything.

Great concept, wrong wording.

To get "volunteers" to help others is an antiquated way of thinking. Gathering "volunteers" was the old way of doing business. We were caught up in old habits. We now see the error of our ways.

Instead, (see numbers 3 and 4 above) we are all, and always have been, neighbors. It doesn't get any more clear or all-encompassing than "one's fellow human being". We feel ashamed for not seeing it before.

So, from now on, We've Got time to Help does not have "volunteers" that will help others in need. We have neighbors that are willing to cross the street or cross the river to help a fellow human being in need. We are all neighbors on this big, round rock and if we could all start to look at it that way, we think it might be just a little bit easier to help one another out in times of need.

We will now call We've Got Time to Help's group of "volunteers" (including ourselves) neighbors in the Extended Neighbor Network. How cool does that sound? We think that, if we can all look at it like we are just neighbors helping neighbors, not only will this be easier for people to offer assistance, but it might make it easier for one of our neighbors in need to reach out for help.

We're not helping a complete stranger, we're just helping a neighbor out that we haven't had the pleasure to meet yet. We're not volunteering, we are just giving a neighbor a hand.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Extreme Yard Makeover update

Well, yesterday was PHENOMENAL! We had over a dozen volunteers show up and take time to help someone they don't even know. It literally gave us chills. Things are changing. There is a new type of thinking and a new type of community emerging from these dark times. It is tremendous to see that change and lucky enough to be a part of it.

A huge thank you to all of the wonderful volunteers yesterday: Aaron, Mel, Meri, Mary, Brooke (and Captain Jack), Kelli, Abby, Julie, Dwane, Cindi, Lucas, Ryan, Louanne and Seth. Absolutely incredible!

It was a great day and we got so much work done. There is still more work to do and, hopefully, we can get some more people out there within the next week or so. We still need to rototill, lay bricks down around the flower beds and build an arbor for the large grapevine in the back. If there is anyone that would like to volunteer to build the arbor, that would be great!

Seth and Trevor are going over to the project this afternoon with a truck and a trailer to haul all of the debris away to the dump. Let's get another group together next week and finish this project up! Who's coming with us?

Here are some photos from yesterday. We will be taking more and posting them soon. Thanks again to everyone yesterday. You are all tremendous human beings!

4 trees had to come out along the back fence.

Cleanup after the trees came down.

Weeding, weeding, weeding!

This area of the yard...before


Digging out a new herb garden!

Overgrown rose bush...before
Some of the 12,000,000 bricks that needed to be separated into various piles.

Just a couple of the yard debris piles.
We can't thank you enough for all of your hard work!

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Got Time to Change a Life?

We've Got Time to Help. We've Got Time to Help strengthen communities. We've Got Time to Help each other. We've Got Time to Help pay it forward. We've Got Time to Help others stand strong when they are at their weakest. We've Got Time to Help shine light even on the darkest of days. We've Got Time to Help total strangers. We've Got Time to Help change the way communities think. We've Got Time to Help promote social responsibility. We've Got Time to Help show our neighbors that we care. We've Got Time to Help change the world.

These are just a few of the phrases that we have used over the last couple of months. They are but a few of the reasons why we started We've Got Time to Help.

This is the first major call that we have made for volunteers. We have many, many projects and we could use some more volunteers to help us get them done. We get calls for help almost every day and only a portion of the projects actually make it to the blog. A lot of them are taken care of almost immediately.

Our next big project is, what we affectionately call, The Extreme Yard Makeover. We could definitely use some more people on this one. This is a great chance for everyone to get out and help a deserving family while meeting others in your community who are as committed as you are to Paying it Forward. Please give us a call at 503-953-6018 or email wevegottimetohelp@q.com to find out more details.

You don't need any specific skills, just a willingness to get your hands dirty. Even if you can only spare an hour or two, it would be such a big help. It will be a lot of work but it will also be a lot of fun, and even more importantly...it will be worth it.

Believe me, we understand that it's hard. It's hard to volunteer to help someone with their yard when you don't have time to tend to your own. It's hard to help a total stranger when you have a world of troubles on your mind. It's hard to step out of your comfort zone and meet with a group of strangers. Please know that we completely understand.

We come home almost every day tired, sore and wondering if we are in over our heads. Then, we get up the next day and do it all again. If it wasn't worth it, we wouldn't do it. But we get up every day, with smiles on our faces (and Ibuprofen in hand), with a strong feeling of community, and the knowledge that we have, even in some small way, made a difference in someone's life.

Let me tell you, my friends, it doesn't get any better than that.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

OPB and Community Involvement

We were contacted last week by Sarah Rothenfluch from Oregon Public Broadcasting's show, Think Out Loud. This is such a great opportunity for us to get the word out about what we do and how we can help people. The show will run from 9am-10am on Monday. Please, spread the word and let anyone in your community know that we are here to help them in any way we can. Sarah's approach to this story is fitting the pieces of our community into a larger social puzzle.

She will also be interviewing a prior customer of Modern Color (the small business that we helped close their doors) and how he had to reduce his advertising budget which directly affected Modern Color; how Desi Miller and crew turned Modern Color into Moso Graphics; how Michelle and I (Seth) turned unemployment into a positive experience and how a laid-off heavy equipment operator used F.I.D.O. (Friends Involved in Dog Outreach) to help him provide food for his animal allowing him to keep his pets instead of having to turn them over to a shelter. If you have time please listen to this informative community driven program.

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Springboard Social Innovation Forum

On Wednesday, Michelle and I (Seth) attended the Springboard Social Innovation Forum that is held monthly at the Urban Grind Coffee House It was a tremendous gathering of groups and individuals that are doing what they can to make all of our communities better places to live, work and play. A Springboard's website motto: "Get enraged. Get engaged. Get busy." How cool of a motto is that?!?!?

From the Springboard website:
"The Springboard Social Innovation Forum offers a monthly event designed to support those interested in creating a better future. Our focus is to help practitioners or potential pratictioners of social projects push beyond discussion and debate into action. Each Forum will inspire and teach with ideas, powerful role models, and stories. Speakers, content experts, panels, and workshops will help you improve your strategies for planning and launching effective social ventures. The Forum will create a context to connect, learn, and take action around ideas that lead to tangible change—all in a venue designed for building community."

The speakers that night were Randy White from Bright Neighbor; Samantha Mafchir from MicroMentor; Skip Newberry from Portland Is Better Together and Amy Pearl from The ChangeXchange.

The first speaker was Randy White from Bright Neighbor. He was intelligent, energetic, and informative. When you go to the Portland Bright Neighbor site, you will need to creat a log-in, but please believe us when we tell you...it's worth it!

From Bright Neighbor's Portland website:
"Bright Neighbor is a Portland community system that helps Portlanders discover our neighbors, coordinate community projects and groups, share stuff, lend and track things, sell and barter stuff, network better, save money, learn new things like growing and preserving food, finding people that live near you with similar interests, ride-share, and much more."

We consider ourselves very like-minded with Bright Neighbor. We aspire to be a lot like Bright Neighbor when we grow up. The are a tremendous group of people and Randy White is a great community leader. Please check them out!

There were so many great ideas and people that there isn't enough space to write about it all here. Please check out the different links and find your path! We will add more about the other groups that spoke at this event and other groups that we learned about while attending the forum, in the near future so check back often!!

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Bark Dust, Weeds and Stones- Oh My!!

This should have been posted about a week ago. Jen and Aric are tremendously generous people.

We received a call a couple of weeks ago from a woman who needed help. She indicated she had Multiple Sclerosis and had recently fallen. She had purchased some bark dust and was now unable to spread the bark dust around her flower beds. We sent out an email to our volunteers.

Jen and Aric responded with what seemed to be the speed of light. We had not even had a chance to post about it yet and they had already been out and taken care of this woman. Besides helping spread the bark dust they ended up pulling weeds, raking, and putting in a stone walkway so she could use her walker between rows of plants.

Thanks to both of you, Jen and Aric, for always offering to go above and beyond what is asked or expected!!

Below are some photos showing what a great job they did!!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Moving last Saturday

Well, our moving project went off really well on Saturday the 4th. We moved a wonderful woman from inner SE Portland out to Gresham. We had 5 volunteers for the move. Thank you so much to Igor, Mel, Trevor, Michelle and Seth.

So, even though we had 4 cars and 1 truck to pack up, we ended up making 2 trips. It went smoothly, though. This lovely woman was very thankful and we couldn't be happier to have helped!

Thank you again to everyone. You are changing people's lives and giving them renewed hope in humanity!

Here are a few photos of the move and we wish you all the best.

Here is Igor's vehicle, crammed to the hilt with boxes and bags.

Mel, helping load up the vehicles.

Trevor, Igor (in the background) and Seth getting the door for Trevor.

Another one of the cars getting stuffed with items.

Igor (left) and Seth (right) finishing up with the first load.
And because Michelle was doing all the picture taking, as well as helping move, and I wasn't thoughtful enough to snap some of her, I am posting a photo of her from December of last year. Yes, she is wearing antlers.

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