Saturday, September 11, 2010
Monday, September 6, 2010
Here we find ourselves, a year and a half after we started this organization. It has been an incredible, and life changing, journey. We have had our ups and downs. We have had our highs and lows. Many things have changed. What hasn’t changed is our commitment and desire to reach out and help those who are in need.
Over the last many years, the news has not been good. Every month we are told about new unemployment numbers. We are told how many homes are in foreclosure. We are told about how many people in America are hurting. We are told how many people are going hungry. About how many people are losing hope, or told that they have no hope at all. It is another Great Depression.
We are also told that the homeless shelters are full. The food banks are empty. People, everywhere, are hurting and there aren’t enough resources to help everyone. There just isn’t enough help to go around. We tend to think otherwise. We think that if we were to band together, as a community, and pool our collective resources, we could literally change the world.
We think we have stumbled upon something so powerful and so awesome, yet it’s almost always overlooked. It’s something that we needed to teach ourselves to do before we could ask anyone else to do it. It’s simple and highly effective and it can change lives forever. Are you ready to hear it? Open your eyes. Take a look around you, your home, your community. Too often, especially when times are so tough or our lives are in upheaval, we tend to put our heads down, put our blinders on and do our best to ride out the coming storm. It’s a normal, human reaction. It’s a survival instinct. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to stop being human or humane to each other just because we are weathering a storm. Even though we are struggling, we can still reach out to those who are in need. No matter how bad times are, we can still offer a little bit of ourselves to save someone else.
Because times are so tough, there are more people than ever that have needs that aren’t being met. The government is stretched too thin and big business doesn’t seem to care. There are so many people out there that just need a little help, a little hope. Maybe you’re one of those people. Here’s a beautiful thing: you still have skills or knowledge that could help another. No matter your situation, there is someone you can reach out to.
Our organization started out being mainly for unemployed people. There were so many “skilled” people out of work that we said “let’s gather up all the unemployed carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc. etc. and get them volunteering in their communities”. And so it began. But, as time went on, we started to see that everyone, no matter their background or experience level, had their own set of unique and invaluable skills. We heard from so many people that said “I would love to help, but I don’t have any skills that would be useful” or “I don’t think I have anything to offer”. This just isn’t true. Every, single person in this country has something to offer someone else.
We have had disabled people offer to help with phone work. We have had young people offer strong legs and backs. We have had elderly people offer their homes for meeting spaces. We have had stay-at-home moms and dads offer to drive volunteers to and from projects. No matter you age, skill level, experience, background, education, ethnicity or gender, you have something to offer. Something that will help a neighbor in need. Something that could change someone’s life. Something that could save someone’s life.
This is not just an idea or an assumption. It truly works. We have seen it work time and time again. We have gathered together complete strangers and, standing as one, pooled our resources and changed people’s lives. It’s amazing and wonderful and you can be a part of it. The one thing that they all had in common? Their eyes were open. You, dear reader, sitting there right now have the power and the opportunity to change someone’s life tomorrow. No matter where you live or what your circumstances are, you can find a way to offer someone a little hope. You have the power to say “enough is enough. Tomorrow my eyes will be open and I will keep them open for all the days to come”.
With open eyes, you can see your world around you. With open eyes, you can see that elderly neighbor that could use a hand with the yard work. With open eyes, you can see that person sitting on the bus that needs someone to talk to. With open eyes, you can see that homeless person that could use a blanket or a hot meal. With open eyes, you can change the way you see this world. With open eyes, you can change someone’s life forever. With open eyes, you can change the world.
Go out into your community and lend a hand. Give an hour or two of your time for a cause you believe in. Donate those old clothes in your closet or that extra food in your cupboard to a homeless or women’s shelter. Drive around on a hot day and hand out cold water to pedestrians. Gather your neighbors and start a community garden. Start an organization just like this one or simply offer a smile to a stranger. No act is too grand or too insignificant. There is no such thing as “too small” a kind act. Do what you can. If every person in the country donated 2 hours a month to help someone in need, how much do you think we could accomplish?
That’s a lot of open eyes.
Seth and Michelle
Friday, September 3, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Hello to everyone! Sorry that we have not been posting on the website. We have had a couple of serious family health issues over the last many months that has taken quite a bit of our time away from the website. We also started a business a few months ago and that, too, has limited our time in front of the computer. We apologize and we look forward to posting on a regular basis.
Now, onto the good stuff! We’ve Got Time to Help is still running strong. We, and our many volunteers, are still out and about in our neighborhoods and communities trying to help those that we can. This summer has been busy with moving, some yard work, and a few odd jobs. It’s been a little slower than the winter months, but it seems to be picking up again. We can’t thank everyone enough that has helped out those in need these last few months (but we’ll try)!
That being said, we would love to see our volunteers get reenergized! There are still thousands of people, in Portland alone, that could still use a hand up. It’s been a couple of years since the economic meltdown’s height, but there are so many of our friends and neighbors that are still struggling. Let none of us forget (that includes Michelle and I) that we still have so many opportunities to help others. We still have so much power to change the direction of so many lives.
We can do anything, as an involved community, that we want to. We can choose to help as little or as much as we want to. We can choose to return to “The Old Way” of doing things. We can choose to put our blinders on, put our heads down, and push our way through life. Or, we can choose to do things “The New Way”. In this version, we keep our heads up, our eyes open. We don’t walk past those who need help. We don’t turn our heads. We don’t pretend to ignore.
During the apex of the economic turndown we banded together, as a community, like we have never seen before. We were witness to the awe-inspiring power that individuals have when we band together for something other than ourselves. For a short time, we stopped worrying about ourselves and realized that others needed help, too. They had needs greater than our own.
Michelle and I liken it to people that are buried under rubble after an earthquake. You see people, most of them complete strangers, trying with all their might to dig these trapped people out. They group together to pull the heavy concrete and wood pieces off of others. You see the rescuers coordinating and communicating with each other like they had been doing it all their lives. They come together and do whatever it takes to save those around them. Then, you notice the rescuers. They aren’t the fire dept, police, or any other government agency. They are just average people. They are friends, neighbors, and strangers alike. Then you notice that they are injured, too. They are bleeding and dirty and scared. But they aren’t thinking about that. Some of them don’t ever realize that they are hurt. They, collectively, have one purpose. To help those around them that are in greater need.
The last many years has been our earthquake. Not a literal one, but a financial one. But make no mistake; this earthquake has split this land apart. It has torn down lives and uprooted families. It has destroyed dreams and ruined futures. It doesn’t really matter if your house is in pieces because of an earthquake, or if the bank says that you need to move. Either way, you don’t have a home anymore. This has taken a toll on everyone. Some more than others, but everyone has been affected.
We speak for no one but ourselves (Michelle and Seth). But we give you our word, that we will be just as committed today and tomorrow and the next day, as we were a year ago. We will do our very best to coordinate with others to help rescue those still below. We will try with all our strength to pull out those still left under the rubble.
Because just like in a “real” earthquake after time has gone by, there is still a lot left to do, a lot of people that still need help, and a lot of rubble to clear.
Seth and Michelle
Want to join us? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, May 6, 2010
This post is as much for Michelle and I (Seth) as it is for everyone out there. We started We’ve Got Time to Help over a year ago as a way to get the unemployed masses together and start addressing immediate community service needs. It quickly grew into something we never could have imagined.
We went from hoping to complete a few projects in a year, to being overwhelmed with the amount of people in need for help that exists in our city. Because of the hard economic times this country is experiencing, normal channels for assistance (i.e. agencies that help with food, clothing, rent, volunteers) have been inundated with people calling for help. The agencies resource pools have been stretched too thin and, sometimes, emptied altogether.
We still continue to get calls for help weekly and we continue to help those that we can. We have a great group of volunteers (though, we always welcome more) and they travel throughout the city helping those that have contacted us for help. We have been fortunate enough to help 100’s of people over the last 16 months and we look forward to helping more this year.
The recurring theme in the messages we receive from people that need help is that of hope. Hope. People call us for hope more than they call us for labor, food, or clothing. People call us because they are at, or near, their wit’s end and they don’t know what to do. They have tried going through various channels for help, only to be told that there is not enough to go around. We want to put an end to “not enough”. We believe we can.
Hope is an amazing thing. People call us with tales of hunger, home loss, job loss, personal loss, and myriad difficulties. But, most still have hope. Hope that things will change. Hope that times will get better. Hope that their situation will get better. Hope that someone still cares. And if someone calls us that seems to have lost their hope, we do our best to give them a little. We tell them that we will do everything in our power to help them. We will not walk away from them. We will stand by them in their darkest hour. If people feel that there is even the slightest glimmer of hope, a little sliver far off in the distance, they can keep going. It’s the ones that have lost all hope, that don’t seem to have the energy to keep pushing on.
So, my friends, let’s get reenergized! Let’s set out, every day, to help someone in need. Friends, neighbors, strangers. It doesn’t matter how small or grand the gesture. It matters not what the circumstances are. It doesn’t matter to whom you lend a hand. What matters is that you are keeping hope alive. You are saying “I will not let anyone around me lose hope”. I will fight the good fight. I will be strong when others cannot be. I will pay it forward. I will stand for all that is good and right and say “not on my watch”.
Take care and good luck,
Seth and Michelle
Monday, March 29, 2010
This recently came across our desk and we wanted to share it with everyone. This is such an important cause and we would love to see the word spread about it! Please have a look around and see what wonderful work these guys are doing!
As their website states, "This groundbreaking program enables hospice patients to keep their Pets at home with them throughout their end-of-life journey. It is another way - a significant way - that Banfield Charitable Trust continues its mission to fund or administer programs that find innovative ways to keep Pets and families together."
You can also take a look at their blog, Pet Peace of Mind. They are a wonderful group of people doing some amazing work. Keep it up guys!
Seth and Michelle
Thursday, March 25, 2010
As a lot of you know, I (Seth) was laid off 15 months ago and, just like millions of others, haven't been able to find work since. We have struggled financially for over a year now and the situation was becoming more bleak by the day.
So, after much deliberation and planning, we have decided to open our own business. It just seemed like the right time and the right thing to do. I don't know how many of you know, but Michelle and I are bird watchers. We have been feeding and watching birds for many years now. We have also been making our own suet (a type of food for birds) for years. We have spent the last few months perfecting our recipe and finding suppliers, getting licences, setting up a website (NePo Suet Company), etc. etc. We are now set up and selling our suet online and in a couple of stores in Portland. We have received a lot of orders from all over the country and business is picking up every day. We feel very lucky to have this up and running.
The reason for us writing this post it to make sure that people still know we are around. Yes, we are still here. We are still helping people on a regular basis. We just haven't been very good about posting lately. We have had many smaller projects going on over the last couple of months, just nothing on a large scale. There are some projects coming up in the not so distant future that will be on a fairly large scale.
There will soon be a community revitalizing project going on in a NE neighborhood that will need a lot of support and as many neighbors as we can get to help. As soon as we get some more info, we will let everyone know the details. It should be a very fun and worthwhile project!
So, thank you to everyone who continues to help their neighbors. Thank you to everyone who helps to make our community a better place to live. Thank you to everyone that lends a hand to someone that is needs. Thank you to everyone to who continues to spread hope.
Seth and Michelle
Monday, February 1, 2010
On Friday morning, a group of us met at a project site to spread some gravel for a neighbor in need. The side of their home gets to be a muddy and dangerous slope when it rains. One of our volunteers, Meri, suggested that we lay down some gravel to combat the problem. We put the call out for help and you answered!
It took us 2 pickup loads full of gravel but we finished the project in just a couple of hours. We finished so quickly because of the hard work put in by so many volunteers.
A big and heartfelt "Thank you" to Meri, Julie, Mel, Louanne, Inman, David, Daniel and Seth.
Another successful group project completed!
Friday, January 15, 2010
We are having our first meet and greet of the year on Wed., Jan. 27th from 11am - 2pm. If you haven't attended one before please stop by, even if it's for just a short while, and introduce yourself. If you have been before, please stop by again and share your ideas about how we can make a bigger impact in our community this year.
We are open to any ideas people may have on how we can all get more involved, start new community projects, or just be better neighbors.
So, if you Have the Time, please come by and let's make Portland an even better place to live!
Email us at email@example.com for our address. Thanks so much and we hope to see you all there!
Seth and Michelle
Monday, January 4, 2010
We forgot to post a huge thank you to everyone that donated items for the family in need. A few days before Christmas, Michelle and I took all of the clothes, household items, and food to the family. It was a big surprise for them and a very uplifting experience for us. We had to make multiple trips out to the car because there were so many items!
Thank you to everyone that donated items and goods to them! Margena, Mel, Rachael, Michelle, and quite a few anonymous donors. Thank you to everyone!