Northwest Children’s Outreach With A Friend – Week 10

Where I Went:
I volunteered for Northwest Children’s Outreach (NCO) 8 weeks ago at their Hillsboro location. NCO distributes donated clothing, books, toys, and baby items to social service agencies that in turn provide needy families with necessities for a short time.
This week, I headed south a few miles to NCO’s Tigard center, located near the Washington Square Mall. This time I was not alone. A long, lost friend came with me.
First Impressions:
When I posted about volunteering at NCO in January, I casually mentioned the ease of bringing a friend to chat and catch up if one wanted to forgo the usual coffee date. Immediately, Deanie contacted me. 
Deanie and I met when I moved from So Cal to Portland in 1992 when we started working for the same company on the same day. We supported each other through our early 20’s and served as bridesmaids in each other’s weddings. Sadly, soon after we became “domesticated”, we hung out less frequently, phone calls stopped, and FaceBook didn’t exist. We drifted apart.
15 years have passed since Deanie and I last saw each other. Thanks to the advent of social media, this friend from my youth found me, read my blog, and wrote to tell me she wanted to volunteer at NCO together. We made a date and I eagerly anticipated the time we would have to re-connect.
The Job:
Deanie and I both arrived at the Tigard business park at 10:30a.m. It was easy to spot her – she looked exactly the same as the 25 year old I remembered. 
We walked into the office-turned-clothing mecca and introduced ourselves to the NCO coordinators, Wendy and Susie. Susie gave us a brief tour and delegated our assignment for the day; overflowing piles of spring/summer wear needed to be separated by clothing type. After doing the same job for 2 hours a few weeks ago, I’m almost an expert at this.
The pile against the wall needed sorting.
Susie gave us the rundown: the sorting bins are labeled “tops” and “pants” for boys, the same for girls with an extra bin for “dresses and skirts”. Stained clothing or items with questionable logos are passed on to a different clothing distributer at Birch Community Services.
Shirts with “Hawaii” and “Disneyland” logos had to go in the discard box. Even though the garment looked perfectly fine, a boy or girl may feel strange wearing something displaying a location where that child had never been. However, I was surprised when the coordinator directed me to put a size 12-month onesie with the saying “Daddy’s Little Cutie” in the Birch box. 
“Some babies just don’t have Daddy’s around,” she sighed.
Deanie found no stains here!
I wish I had more to report, but honestly, the next 2 hours were a blur. I worked hard sorting, folding, and discarding, but Deanie and I were deep in conversation. We had a decade and a half to catch up on! 
How to Help:
The next time you and a friend discuss making a date for coffee, consider using that time to volunteer instead. There are clothing distribution centers all over the country that will use any time you can give – even an hour is helpful.
 If you live in the Portland metro area, helping with Northwest Children’s Outreach takes no more than 2 steps.
  1. Read NCO’s website and determine a time and location that work best for you and a friend.
  2. Show up.
Nothing shows the compassion between two friends like helping those in need. Where could you volunteer with a friend? Comment below – I’d love to hear more ideas!
I told readers that for the month of February,
 I’d donate one diaper per blog comment.
The green pack 4 shelves down on the left is ours!


  1. says

    Hey my friend! Totally loved serving with you and being able to catch up at the same time. We definitely made a dent in their pile of clothes and a dent in our decade of catching up. Although you are right it was a blur…a decade is a long time! Can't wait to help you again–thanks for a great day!

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