This post was written by Social Media and Online Content Assistant Azaria Coakley.
The date is September 26, and the sky is clear. There’s a light breeze, cooling down the 78-degree weather. Students are lining up to receive their yellow t-shirts that read “MUServe”. The band is setting up for a time of worship to kick off the annual event we’ve all gathered for: Day of Outreach. This is a Multnomah tradition that has been carried out for over 50 years now. The day focuses on reaching out to local neighborhoods, nonprofits, schools, community centers, etc. by offering a helping hand to our community. There is also a heavy emphasis on fostering relationships with our surrounding neighbors and showing God’s love in all that we do.
The students visited many different sites for Day of Outreach, including Shepherd’s Door, which is a nonprofit that provides a peaceful community for single women and women with children, in order to help them recover from addiction and learn different life skills. We spoke to some of the students, who were doing yard work for the facility. Cassidy Randall, a sophomore, and Caitlyn Melott, a junior, both said that Day of Outreach provides an opportunity for us to “[show] God’s love to people in our community.”
We then crossed paths with Ashley Bell, who works at Shepherd’s Door as the equipping manager. She also helped coordinate a space for Multnomah to volunteer at Shepherd’s Door. When asked what Day of Outreach means to her and the organization, she stated that Shepherd’s Door “would not be anywhere without [its] volunteers. It means the world.” Ashley told us that there are over 600 volunteers that keep the organization thriving. We are happy to be a part of that!
We also got to meet Vonnie, a neighbor of ours. She is from the Portland area and has been living in the same house since she was six years old. We asked Vonnie if she’s been able to benefit from Day of Outreach in the past, and she told us that Multnomah students have been serving her off and on for more than 10 years! Her face lit up as she proceeded to tell me that the help she has received from us is a “great blessing” and that we are “doing what would take her weeks and weeks to do.”
The students were scattered around her yard, doing various jobs such as cutting bamboo, cleaning up yard debris, sanding the porch, and even cleaning the gutters. Each student was hard at work using their hands and feet to show the love of God in everything they were doing. Vonnie also told us that she was able to get to know all of the students and learn about their majors and what’s been going on in their lives.
We also had a chance to speak with Amanda Martin, our student body president. When asked about her favorite part of Day of Outreach, she said, “I enjoy getting to talk to other members of [the] team while not focusing on ourselves.” Being able to set aside time to focus on others is just one of the many highlights of Day of Outreach.
We at Multnomah will continue to focus on serving in our community. Portland and its people are a vital piece of Multnomah’s culture. We are blessed to have access to some of the most beautiful mountains and forests, while also being shoulder-to-shoulder with the Moda Center (where our beloved Trail Blazers play) and some of the best food around. We want to show God’s love in not only what we say, but in all that we do. Day of Outreach is also a great day to show students all of the different places they can volunteer during the year. Because of this, many Multnomah students are serving all throughout the city during the year too. We look forward to next year’s Day of Outreach, with new opportunities and ways to be used by God in our community!