Waste Free Holidays Series Volunteer as a Family 


What better way to celebrate the season of giving than to give of your time and talent by volunteering as a family! While it might be a challenge to coordinate everyone’s schedules, volunteering as a family has many worthwhile benefits. Children watch everything you do. By giving back to the community, you show them firsthand how volunteering makes a difference and how good it feels to help others and enact change. It’s also a valuable way for you to get to know organizations in the community and find resources and activities for your children and family.

Time, enthusiasm, and skills are valuable gifts. And they’re waste-free! Volunteers that take time to help with needed services will find they also receive a valuable gift as well. According to a report issued by the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteering has been shown to increase or preserve physical and mental health. Volunteers tend to feel happier and live longer than those who do not volunteer.


“Inviting friends and relatives to join you can create precious memories that feel good all over. Include children. People who volunteer as youth are twice as likely to volunteer as adults than those who don’t experience the ‘glow’ as kids. For more information on the benefits of volunteering go to: http://helpguide.org/life/volunteer_opportunities_benefits_volunteering.htm


Below are just a few examples of ways you can volunteer. These waste-based non-profits provide valuable services to our community while diverting tons of materials from the landfill every year. 

BRING Recycling at 4446 Franklin Blvd. has different types of volunteer opportunities depending on the time of year. If you would like to volunteer in the sales, warehouse, or grounds keeping area please contact Deveron Musgrave at deveronm@bringrecycling.org. If you would like to volunteer to help with the annual Tour of Homes please contact Shirley Perez West at shirleyw@bringrecycling.org. Shirley is currently recruiting steering committee members to help plan and organize the Tour of Homes.

Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts (MECCA) has recently expanded operating days and hours so the current needs are primarily to work in the store sorting/organizing, learning to use the cash register, opening/closing procedures. “With our expanded hours, we really need more volunteers in the store.  We also can use help for events, fundraisers, outreach, that kind of thing” says Patricia Wyllie, Volunteer Coordinator for MECCA. You can contact Patricia at volunteers@materials-exchange.org or (541) 342-1810. MECCA is located at 449 Willamette St. next to the Amtrak station.


Volunteer with NextStep and receive valuable skills training. NextStep offers training opportunities in recycling, electronics refurbishing, information technology and administration, marketing and retail sales. “Part of our education training package is that after sixty hours of participation, all trainees are offered a technology grant. This includes a desktop computer, LCD monitor, mouse, keyboard and the necessary cables to get started. The computer comes with approximately $250 worth of software preinstalled including Microsoft 7, an Office suite program, web browser, email client, security and virus protection software and digital literacy training programs” according to Training and Volunteer Coordinator Jennifer McAuley. To become a volunteer you must first attend a Volunteer Orientation which is held every Saturday starting at 11 a.m. at 2101 West 10th Street, Eugene.  No need to sign up, just stop by. For more information contact Jennifer at (541) 686-2366 x131 or Jennifer.McAuley@nextsteprecycling.org.


A variety of opportunities are listed on the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County’s Volunteer webpage, including some needs specific to the holiday season. Go to http://www.svdp.us/get-involved/volunteer/ to view volunteer opportunities with St. Vincent de Paul and complete an online volunteer application that asks your skills, preferences and availability. Kathy Wilson is the Volunteer Coordinator for SVdP. You can contact Kathy at volunteer@svdp.us  or (541)743-7147. 

United Way of Lane County maintains a database of local volunteer requests. Go to: https://volunteer.truist.com/uwlane/volunteer/ and search by location or interest area.

These tips provided by the Waste Free Holidays campaign in partnership with the Lane County Master Recycler Program, BRING, MECCA, NextStep and St. Vincent de Paul.

Waste Free Holidays Campaign

Each year at this time Master Recyclers invite community members to celebrate the season of giving by reducing, reusing, and recycling waste that is typically generated at the holidays. The Waste Free Holidays Campaign highlights several fun, low cost and simple waste prevention strategies families can use from Thanksgiving through the New Year - or any time of year! Visit www.lanecounty.org/lessisbest to view Waste Free Holiday tips and resources you can use to help create a truly enjoyable season. New items are added throughout the season so check back periodically for inspiration and announcements of waste free events in our area.

Lane County Master Recycler Program

Master Recyclers bridge the gap between awareness and action by motivating people to reduce solid waste at home, work, and play. Lane County Master Recycler Volunteers provide more than 2000 hours of waste prevention education to residents, businesses and events each year. Go to: www.lanecounty.org/masterrecyclers to learn more.

Contacts: Kelly Bell, Lane County Master Recycler Program, 541-682-2059 or