Upcoming Fair to Connect Nonprofits with Would-Be Volunteers

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Hermiston Chamber of Commerce Director Val Hoxie is busy organizing the Oct. 24 Volunteer Fair that will take place at the Hermiston Community Center. (Photo by Michael Kane)

If you’ve ever wanted to help out in some way but weren’t sure how to go about it, your problem has been solved.

Next month, the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce will host a Volunteer Fair with more than 20 nonprofits, service organizations and other entities in attendance to recruit people willing to lend a helping hand.

Chamber Executive Director Val Hoxie has been busy organizing the event and getting in contact with nonprofits and other groups to fill the Hermiston Community Center from noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24 for the big event.

The chamber held a job fair shortly after Shearer’s shut down in early 2022 and that got Hoxie thinking about holding a similar event for volunteers.

“This has been a brainchild of mine for about a year and a half,” she said. “About six months into my journey at the chamber, what I recognized is everybody volunteers in some way or is involved in something or wants to be involved in something. The first thing they ask you is where do you volunteer or would you like to volunteer.”

It turns out, volunteers are needed in nearly every organization in Hermiston. Last month, for example, Agape House Executive Director Mark Gomolski said the nonprofit is in need of not only more volunteers, but younger volunteers.

“Our volunteers are getting older,” he said.

Hoxie said that’s the case with many nonprofits.

“People say they’re looking for volunteers to grow their organization and talk about the need for younger people to get involved,” she said. “Who are we going to pass the torch to?”

To that end, Hoxie has invited students from Hermiston High School to attend the Volunteer Fair to find out what kind of volunteer opportunities are available in Hermiston.

Along with service clubs and nonprofits, the city of Hermiston will also be represented to show off the many committees it has that need volunteers. City council agendas frequently have notices of vacancies on various committees.

Hoxie has also asked a few businesses to show up. Some businesses, she said, give their employees time off each year to volunteer. The Volunteer Fair will give them a wide selection of opportunities to give back.

Hoxie said she is excited for the fair and hopes to see a large turnout.

“We’re trying to keep our finger on the pulse of our community and hear the chatter,” she said. “And what people are saying is they want to get involved.”

Oct. 24 is their chance.

Below is a list of some of the groups participating in the Volunteer Fair:

  • Altrusa International of Hermiston
  • American Legion Post 37
  • CAPECO
  • Domestic Violence Services
  • Campus Life
  • Lion’s Club
  • Kiwanis Club
  • Made to Thrive
  • Pacific NW Veterans Association
  • Meadowood Springs Speech Camp
  • Soroptimists
  • Stepping Stones Alliance
  • Trucare Pregnancy Clinic
  • Umatilla County Historical Society
  • United Way of the Blue Mountains
  • H2O EO
  • Umatilla County Housing Authority
  • Good Shepherd Health Care System
  • SMART Reader
  • Goodwill
  • 100 Women Who Care EO
  • City of Hermiston
  • Umatilla-Morrow Head Start
  • Horizon Project

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