Start Volunteering with Your Spouse + Friends

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one of my goals for this year is to give back more, both of my time and my moolah. i used to be very involved in the non-profit world in portland since that’s what area i worked in. last year, as my first year as a full-time entrepreneur, i was basically trying to stay afloat and not go insane so i lost my connection with giving back to my community. i didn’t like that.

my husband and i started talking about how we wanted more hands-on giving back instead of just donating 10% of our income because we both felt like we were wanting to do more. thank goodness we surround ourselves by positive friends because just before the new year started, my friend alison suggested that we (along with our guys) start volunteering together in 2015!

we kicked it off this past weekend by all volunteering at the oregon food bank!

volunteer oregon food bankwhile i’m very familiar with the food bank and used it as a resource for many of my old clients, i had never actually been to the facilities or volunteered there. it was incredible. the sheer volume of food they store and deliver all over the state is astounding. they typically serve over 900,000 people a year!

not only was it powerful to be helping prepare food for delivery, it was a ton of fun! turns out that when you’re with people you like, your cute husband and working for a good cause – it’s hard to have a bad time.

oregon food bank all of us

my look of slight concern is only because we just finished becoming sanitary and then my husband took out his phone to take this photo and all i could think was “contamination!!!”  it could have also been matt’s beard guard.

our group started out with preparing crates of fresh produce to be delivered all around the portland metro area schools. between about 20 of us, we moved around 12,440 pound of food! that was definitely my workout for the day.

also, i can only eat celery if it’s covered in peanut butter otherwise i gag.

oregon food bank preparing bins

it was sexy to see my husband in action at the food bank (is that weird?). i felt more attracted to him because he has such a good heart and it’s fun to see him interact with others while doing something for our community (that’s him maneuvering the crate).oregon food bank pushing cartafter that project was successfully done, we got to play work on a conveyer belt! grocery stores from around portland donate things to the food bank and it was our job to sort the food from the household products. it was extra fun because since christmas was just a few weeks ago, we sorted a lot of holly jolly snacks and chocolate santas.

we had a goal to get that teenage girl to laugh because we think we are pretty funny but she was stone. even when we talked about eating dog food or how santa feels about being so commercialized, we just got blank stares. we are apparently not as funny as we think we are.

Oregon Food Bank Assembly lineif for some reason a big pallet of food was delivered to my doorstep, this is the exact one i’d want. hello wheat thin/cracker heaven.
oregon food bank wheat thinsalison made a good point that since we hang out and have a great time, we might as well hang out, do something good and have a great time! we decided we are going to all do this once a month together and i’d highly recommend doing the same!

it felt good to give back, even for 2 hours on a saturday morning because it made me stop and realize just how fortunate i am to have never experienced true hunger. sure i get hangry when i don’t eat every 2 hours but my cupboards and refrigerator are always full and i have the capability to access any type of food i want. that’s pretty powerful.

think about volunteering at your local food bank because i know they could use your help and you might as well bring your spouse and friends along with you!

1) do you have a favorite non-profit you donate either time or money to?
2) how do you feel about eating celery?
3) the last time you felt slightly more attracted to your spouse because of what she/he was doing?

 if you live in oregon, check out the volunteer options at the oregon food bank!


  1. David

    January 12, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    1) do you have a favorite non-profit you donate either time or money to?
    My girlfriend, son, and I have volunteered a few times for the local Pet Food Pantry (where people can come for free pet food). We take tickets, load carts, and carry/push the donated food to the recipients’ cars. Talk about getting your exercise in for the day! People are generally very appreciative. It’s nice to interact with the people receiving the benefits of your volunteering. It had been a while since I felt that.

    The three of us also donated our time, twice, to Kids Against Hunger. This was more assembly-line-style work. We loaded pouches with a mix of ingredients that served as a sort of oatmeal mix but which provides a nutritious meal for 6. Imagine a warehouse full of people scooping mix into pouches, someone collecting the pouches, and someone else sealing them. The number of people fed (pouches * 6) lighting up on the wall and people cheering as we hit milestone numbers. These pouches are sent around the U.S., but also to Africa, Haiti, etc. It’s a great operation and one which I hope to visit again.

    2) how do you feel about eating celery?

    I like it. I like the idea that it’s a negative calorie food! 🙂

    3) the last time you felt slightly more attracted to your spouse because of what she/he was doing?

    I dig watching her interact with other people, too (like you mentioned about yours, in your blog).

    • chelsea

      January 13, 2015 at 8:12 am

      that’s great that you, your son and your girlfriend do these things together, david! the pet food pantry sounds like a great resource for people and glad they are appreciative. wow- Kids Against Hunger sounds like an amazing experience and it’s doing such good all over the world, including right here! thanks for sharing your experiences david and there is something about our significant others being good people that just gets to us 🙂

  2. Rachel G

    January 12, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    I only eat celery in creamy potato soup. Delicious!

    I definitely believe that these sorts of work projects are some of the best time you can spend with people you love. My grandparents’ church is in the inner city of Michigan’s city famous for an excessively high homicide rate, and they are very involved in their own community. Every summer that church chooses about 10 houses whose owners can’t afford major fixes like new roofs and new exterior paint and fixes them for free. That church has a pretty elderly population so they need all the young blood they can get for scampering around on scaffolding–the last couple years Angel and I have joined in and spent a week as construction workers–I really love what that church does for their neighborhood!
    Rachel G recently posted…Teenage Fashion

    • chelsea

      January 13, 2015 at 11:51 am

      i love to hear that your grandparents’ church is very involved in its community. sounds like an amazing project they work on every summer for those 10 houses to fix them up. thanks for sharing and so glad that you and angel have been able to be a part of it too, rachel!

  3. Emma Lincoln

    January 15, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    I totally agree that seeing your spouse in a new or unusual setting makes you remember what an awesome person they are. My boyfriend is always the one who helps people with their groceries, and holds the door open, so when we get the chance to spend a whole weekend together, I get to remember what a generous soul he is 🙂
    Emma Lincoln recently posted…Forget Road Trip Singalongs. Talk About Money In The Car.

    • chelsea

      January 16, 2015 at 9:28 am

      he sounds like a sweet guy, emma! i’m sure that’s part of the reason why we are attracted to our partners because of those generous souls that live within 🙂

  4. Amanda Wood

    January 19, 2015 at 10:19 am

    What a great “date” idea! I’ve been meaning to get involved in volunteering around here and to use it as a group hangout or a date would be perfect 🙂
    Amanda Wood recently posted…A Grateful Blogiversary Giveaway!

    • chelsea

      January 20, 2015 at 10:49 am

      totally amanda! i always get anxious as the prospect of going to new things so it’s much easier and more fun that we are doing it with friends!