In an early October episode of Katie Couric’s talk show, the journalist pans for gold with the cast of “Gold Rush.”

Dave Turin, a cast member from Sandy, says the gold will be given to an important Portland-area charity.

Wednesday, Turin and his wife, Shelley, a former nurse for the organization, presented Chairman Drake Snodgrass, Dr. Bob Sayson and Director Blake Petersen of Good News Center in Rockwood with two small bottles of gold valued at $1,800 each.

“This is one of my favorite charities,” Turin says of the nonprofit Christian health center that helps uninsured Rockwood residents. “They’re the real heroes.”

Whether or not you have gold to donate, there are dozens of ways to contribute to East County communities this holiday season — by volunteering, making charitable donations, participating in events and learning about social issues.

Don Peters, a longtime East County volunteer for three food banks, including Sandy Action Community Center, says he’d like to see more volunteer commitment in communities.

“I could work around the house, put in fewer hours and get more done than running up and down the road (volunteering), but it takes people to get these projects off and running. It’s important to try to help out and see what’s going on in your community. I got involved and I can’t stay away.

“I’ve never been down in the dumps, but I’ve seen people that have been and it really hurts. If we could get a few more people really dedicated and seeing what’s really going on, it’d make such a difference.”

Judy Alley, executive director of SnowCap Charities says the best thing community members can do to alleviate the need for charities is create job opportunities and a more vibrant economy.

“You don’t have to be Boeing or a big business to hire people,” she says. “To hire someone to clean your house, you create a way for that person to take home money and food to their family.”

Denise Martin, who has been staying in a Motel 6 in Troutdale with two puppies, her young son and everything she owns, trying to make it through 24 hours at a time, has a message she would like to relay to the community.

“We need to have a huge quantum awakening and shift in our hearts,” Martin says. “The need is so much bigger than you can imagine. Reach out and open your heart,” Martin says.

Here are a host of ways East County residents can contribute to their communities during the next six weeks.


Bogey’s Toy Drive

Owner Carolyn Bailey


1965 N.E. Division St., Gresham

Instead of receiving presents for her December birthday, Carolyn Bailey, the owner of Bogey’s Grill, decided to organize a toy drive. Beginning Friday, Nov. 23, Bogey’s will collect new, unwrapped toys for low-income children of all ages and donate them to SnowCap Charities.

East Child Welfare holiday party for foster children

Caseworker Stacey Mahler


3618 S.E. 122nd Ave., Portland

For 13 years, East Child Welfare has provided a holiday party for children in the foster care system. The department welcomes donations for the Dec. 11 party — from decorations and utensils to gift cards for teens and items for its quarterly silent auctions that support the party throughout the year.

Gresham Elks Lodge No. 1805 Christmas baskets

Co-chairmen Bill Hay and Jim Foreman


3330 N.E. Division St., Gresham

For 44 years, The Gresham Elks have delivered Christmas baskets to families in need, picking families suggested by local schools and charities. “We deliver 150 boxes of food and we include enough food for three or four days plus Christmas Day dinner,” Public Relations Chairwoman Betty Chisum says. “We add a turkey, sack of potatoes and a sack of apples with each box. We need cans of vegetables, corn, beans, soup, peanut butter and anything a family would eat.”

Good News Community Health Center


18000 S.E. Stark St., Portland

“We’re always looking for dentists and their staffs to volunteer a day a month,” Dr. Bob Sayson of Good News Center says. “When you go out for a job, you want to feel good smiling.” Along with medical volunteers, the clinic appreciates financial donations that can help provide services such as dentures for homeless people and scholarships for services. The clinic also partners with churches to reach out to the homeless population.

Medical Teams International #Giving Tuesday donation drive

Communications Coordinator Angela Pratt


Medical Teams International is participating in a new national movement, #GivingTuesday, that emphasizes charitable giving. Through Tuesday, Nov. 27, Medical Teams International will accept donations of hygiene supplies for distribution to 70 service agencies in the metro area. Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, Medical Teams will accept: gallon-size Ziploc bags, combs and hairbrushes, bars of soap, wash cloths, toothpaste and toothbrushes. While its office is located at 14150 S.W. Milton Court in Tigard, Pratt said buying gifts through the organizations’ online gift catalog or donating personal care items through the website is another way to contribute.

Operation Christmas Child through Mountainview Community Church

Collection Coordinator, Terri Johnson


1890 N.E. Cleveland Ave. Gresham

Help Operation Christmas Child reach its goal of surpassing 100 million shoe boxes distributed by packing a shoe box with small toys, hygiene items and school supplies for a children ages 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14. Since 1993, more than 94 million shoe box gifts have been delivered to children in more than 130 countries through Samaritan’s Purse, a religious organization. Mountainview will collect boxes 6-8 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday.

SnowCap Community Charities

503-674-8785, ext. 37, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

17788 S.E. Pine, Portland

SnowCap has a host of ideas for how East County residents can contribute to the community during the holidays, from hosting their own food drives at annual holiday events to volunteering with family members by contacting Kari James, special projects coordinator. Residents are encouraged to donate their empty bottles and cans, which can result in hundreds of dollars each month, and to buy SnowCap auction tickets ($60) as holiday gifts for the the Feb. 9, 2013 event. SnowCap also encourages residents to consider donating their cars, trucks or boats to the organization, which is tax deductible. Donations of food, clothes and new toys are received at the warehouse door 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Fill-A-Bag program will be highlighted in the Nov. 20 edition of The Outlook.




The youth organization AntFarm and Sandy Historical Society are partnering to sell Noble Christmas trees and splitting the profits beginning Friday, Nov. 30. Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, AntFarm will be open with food and refreshments for community members who are alone or struggling with the holiday season. Friday, Nov. 23, and Saturday, Nov. 24, volunteers are invited to join AntFarm to harvest fall crops from its garden behind Suburban Auto and pack up the garden for the year. Volunteers also are invited to deck the halls at Avamere at Sandy on Dec. 5. In addition, AntFarm is a part of a kickstarter campaign right now, “AntFarm Café and Bakery, a healthy community choice,” that if funded, would complete its self-sustaining cafe and bakery.

Clackamas Women’s Services


Instead of “adopting” families for the holiday season, Clackamas Women’s Services, an agency providing services in Sandy and Estacada, takes another approach by hosting a holiday store for its participants to shop for their families. “We’ve chosen to do it because often it feels more empowering and personal for moms to be able to pick out gifts for their kids,” Kristin Schlotterbeck, prevention, education and youth programs manager, says. To learn more about donation items and hours, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Kiwanis Christmas Basket Program

Event Chairman Ken Hallgren


Kiwanis Community Christmas Baskets, P.O. Box 1261 Sandy, OR 97055

For 57 years, Sandy Kiwanis has organized a project that brightens the holidays of Sandy-area families in by providing gift baskets. Students, scouts, Sandy fire and police departments, businesses, youth organizations and other community members come together to assemble more than 400 holiday gift baskets with gifts for children and food for several meals. Donate new, unwrapped toys; canned food; and money for the meat, fresh foods and additional canned food.

Sandy Community Action Center


38982 Pioneer Blvd., Sandy

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, the center will hold its annual Santa Day. The center will fill more than 400 stockings with new toys for children 0 to 18. In addition, the Center has an adopt-a-family program that sponsors a family for Christmas dinner and gifts.

Together for Better

Jim, Donna and Heather Cole


Two years ago, the Cole family from Sandy say they found their holiday spirit by witnessing 150 of their family members and friends doing something for the greater good — what they’ve dubbed the “Together for Better” project. In their third year of the project that brings homeless people in downtown Portland essential resources, the Coles are focused on collecting blankets, backpacks, socks and coats. For more information, and to get involved visit the Facebook community page, Together For Better.

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