Volunteer Update: Support the County COVID-19 Response, and Take an About Me Survey

Colleen with dogs

Greetings Wonderful Volunteers! Thank you for your volunteer service at the Multnomah County Animal Shelter. We have been missing you during this unprecedented time when our volunteer activities are suspended, and we look forward to welcoming you back when we resume normal operations in the future. Learn about current volunteer opportunities for the County COVID-19 response, remember to take an About You Survey (and see some of my answers), and see online training opportunities.

Volunteers Needed for COVID-19 Response

We’re writing to ask for your help. As Multnomah County and the City of Portland respond to the COVID-19 emergency together with other agencies and community non-profits, we need the support of our tried and true volunteers like you more than ever before.

We’re currently seeking volunteers to help at the shelters established to provide safe refuge and physical distancing for community members experiencing homelessness. We also need help to support those in quarantine or isolation at established hotels. We hope to have qualified volunteers ready to respond to future needs. Additional roles will be developed in response to community need and may include transporting goods, conducting wellness checks over the phone, and providing administrative support.

Can you help? Complete an online volunteer interest form, or call 503-406-3696 to express interest in volunteering for the emergency response.

You’re excellent at the volunteer role you’re passionate about, so please include details about where you normally volunteer, and special skills, experience, training or certifications you have when filling out the form, or speaking with our volunteer coordinators.

Learn more about the Joint Volunteer Information Center (JVIC), and opportunities to help.

Donations Needed for COVID-19 Response

Our health care workers are in need of crucial personal protection equipment (PPE), and other important supplies to safely continue their work and save lives. Can you help? Equipment needs to be unused, in good condition.

Check our COVID-19 donation page or call 503-406-3696 for the most up to date information on how to donate and what items are currently accepted. As the needs change daily, please check back on the same day you would like to deliver your donation to confirm what items we are currently accepting, and where to bring them.

About You Survey

I know that this is a strange time and many of you are missing volunteering (and we’re missing you too) so I thought we could participate in a short get to know you game.

If you feel so inclined, please fill out the following questions and send it to colleen.otoole@multco.us. I’m really looking forward to getting to know you all!  We sent it out several weeks ago, and I've already seen responses from many of you!

About You

  • Your preferred name?
  • Your pronouns?
  • Your pets and their names?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • What is your favorite animal?
  • What is your favorite movie/tv show/book?
  • What is your favorite activity at the shelter?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • Coffee, tea, water, or?
  • What is your favorite treat?
  • What tasks do you typically perform as a volunteer at the shelter?
  • Do you foster? Dogs, cats, or kittens?
  • As a volunteer, how do you like to be appreciated?
  • What would you like more training on?
  • What have you learned from volunteering at the shelter?
  • How have you changed because of volunteering at the shelter?
  • What have you missed most about volunteering?

About Colleen

  • Full Name: Colleen O’Toole
  • Preferred Pronouns: She/her
  • Pets: Three dogs- Lady Bird, Lily, and Betty. Four cats - Fern, Gabe, Rose, and Tufty. Three goats - Frankie, Filbert, and Ivy.
  • Hometown: Buchanan, MI
  • Former Positions: Volunteer Program Manager Habitat for Humanity ReStores
  • Favorite TV Show, Movie or Book: Sister Act 2 and anything written by Barbara Kingsolver
  • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? I would like to visit both Iceland and Thailand someday.
  • Who inspires you? My Grandparents
  • What are you most excited about for this position? I am most excited about getting to work with a great team of people to help redefine the volunteer experience at MCAS.
  • What is your favorite animal? Koala Bears (and of course, dogs, cats, and goats)
  • What is your favorite food? I’m vegan and I love chinese food, thai food, and good ole’ spaghetti and vegan meatballs.
  • Coffee, tea, water, or? Coffee 
  • What is your favorite treat? Chic-o-Sticks!
  • Do you foster? Dogs, cats, or kittens? All of the above! More dogs lately though since we don’t have a dedicated cat room right now.
  • As a volunteer, what makes you feel appreciated? I feel appreciated when people know me by name, say thank you for the small stuff, are hospitable, see me as part of their team, and help connect the value of my work to the greater mission.

Online Training Opportunities:

Please remember that there are a number of online training opportunities available for you while you are unable to serve at the shelter. If you choose to complete these trainings, they will be recorded in Volgistics as a certification and you will be credited a set amount of volunteer time, as long as you submit your certificate to me.

Here are a few opportunities that are currently available to everyone: 

 I will be sending additional opportunities via email next week.

Online Foster Volunteer Training and On-boarding Coming Soon

Our foster program has received an outpouring of support from the community in recent weeks.

As the need for foster homes is great and is anticipated to grow, we'll be moving our recruitment and training process online.  As we begin onboarding new foster volunteers, we'll start by working our way through the list of community members who have already expressed interest.

Thank you for your support- it makes a difference!

With gratitude,

Colleen O’Toole

MCAS Volunteer Coordinator