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By Jamie Mack | Blanchet House Student Ambassador

Hey folks, hope y’all are staying safe and healthy! As we near the holiday season, I am reminded of the great aspects of my life, and I am again reminded that this is a time of giving as well as receiving. There are many people served by Blanchet House that could use your help this season. If you are able, gather up some friends, family, and items to donate to those in need. It could be something as simple as a few sweaters in your closet that you haven’t worn in ages. Sometimes the idea of organizing a donation drive can be stressful, and so we decide to not do it at all. I’m here to help you navigate the process!

Where to Start

First, determine which organization you will give the items to. Call or email the organization to ask them what sort of items they are most in need of. Ask if you can hold a donation drive. It’s important to give them a heads up so they can plan to distribute your items.

  • Adult or children’s items
  • Seasonal

Items to Collect

Focus on one to three specific items to collect. Full list of needed items in Portland, Oregon.

Ideas for items to collect for your drive:

  • Socks and underwear
  • Gloves, hats, and scarves
  • Shoes and jeans
  • Sweaters and sweatshirts
  • Rain ponchos and emergency blankets

You can also purchase the most needed items from charity wish lists on Amazon. Search for your favorite organization.

Schedule the Drive

Schedule a start and stop date. It’s usually preferable that all items from your drive be donated at one time, but it never hurts to check with the organization.

Gather Your People

I recommend you call up your network of friends, family, co-workers, or neighbors, to see if they would be willing to join you. Maybe talk to them about why donating during the holidays is so special and how they can help. In these situations every person’s commitment matters. Simply put, the more the merrier!

Quality of Donated Items

When it comes to donated items, please be conscientious of their condition.

  1. New or slightly used is preferred.
  2. Unsure about whether an item is okay to donate? Try to think about its functionality in the life of someone spending all of their time outdoors.
    • Waterproof items are great in the winter as they can withstand the ever-present Portland rain.
    • Something like a fleece jacket, although very warm and cozy, would not last long in the rain.


The holidays are a great time to give back, now more than ever as our community needs it most. Donating to those who are less fortunate than yourself this holiday season is the perfect way to show love and support for the Portland Community. I believe there is no better feeling than giving up a piece of your pie so everyone can experience it. Most importantly, please practice social distancing and wear masks! Happy Holidays!

Jamie Mack is a Junior at Northwest Academy, and this is her first year as a student ambassador with the Blanchet House. When she is not marveling at the beauty of Taylor Swift lyrics, she spends most of her time in the theatre. She has been a part of all of her school shows to date, is a YP at OCT, and was seen this fall as Helena in Northwest Children’s Theatre’s digital production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream. She also enjoys film photography, spending time with her pets, and convincing people why they should consider being vegetarian. 

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