Giving Tuesdays: Give An Hour. Spread Love.
At KEEN, every full-time employee gets 40 hours of paid service leave to give back to the planet and their community. Volunteerism is a big part of who we are, and we know that COVID has made it a bit more challenging for folks to get out and pitch in. As a result, the need has never been greater.
So this holiday season, we’re turning Giving Tuesday into Giving Tuesdays, getting out and making a KEEN Effect together by volunteering every single Tuesday. With you!
Let’s be a force of good
Give an hour or four. The most valuable thing we can all give is our time. And the best part is, that’s something most of us can do. No skills needed, just heart. So let’s do 10,000 hours of good together. Pitch in on your own around the neighborhood or with a volunteer crew. Doing good feels good, and every little bit helps.
Find a cause with our Volunteer Finder
Not sure where to lend a hand? We’re making it easier to get started with our nationwide Volunteer Finder. Plug in your area of interest, and see what volunteering opportunities are available near you.
Double points for KEEN Corps members
Fans who submit their hours in our KEEN Corps Loyalty Program system get double points through the end of the year for double the love. Not a member yet? Find out how to join, so you can do good stuff, and get good stuff.
How we do good
Need some inspo to get started? Here are some of the ways KEEN employees are giving back in their communities, and how the experience has given so much back to them. Seriously, giving back feels so good!
Helping fight hunger at the Oregon Food Bank
“Whether you go once a year or once a month, almost anyone can pitch in as the tasks are simple. It’s also a great thing to do with your family, friends, or co-workers.”
- Cynthia, KEENmate and food bank sorter
I have volunteered with the Oregon Food Bank off and on since joining KEEN in 2017. They collect donated food (largely from grocery stores) and then sort, store, and distribute food to those who need it! There is a network of 1,400 food assistance sites that they distribute to across the state. I typically volunteer in the cooler room at the food bank. This is a very chilly room where you sort through frozen and refrigerated items. We check for quality on fresh fruits, veggies, and frozen meat, and then check expiration dates for everything else (milk, yogurt, etc.). Volunteering here has been meaningful because their organization helps bring food security and therefore stability to folks in need. As an environmentalist, it is also a fascinating place to volunteer because you get to see how much food is produced that doesn’t get purchased. Without the food bank, this food would likely be thrown away.
Breaking the cycle of homelessness at Rose Haven shelter
“You don’t have to volunteer directly with people to help the cause. There are many opportunities to help with administrative work, pick up donations from community partners, sort donations, and much more.”
- Lizzie, KEENmate and shelter pitcher-inner
When the pandemic hit, there were a lot of things in our communities that we couldn’t ignore. For me, that was the amount of women, children, and gender non-conforming people having to navigate being homeless right outside my door, a few blocks away from Keen HQ. I had heard about Rose Haven via KEEN and realized they were located only a few blocks away from my home. I decided to give them a call and see how I could help despite having to be socially distant. Rose Haven is a day shelter and community shelter serving women, children, and gender non-conforming people experiencing the trauma of abuse, loss of home, and other disruptive life challenges. They break the cycle of homelessness by providing meals, clothing, first aid, mailing addresses, hygiene, restrooms, showers as well as educational programs and guidance through medical and social services. I have had the ability to volunteer in a few different capacities at Rose Haven relating to donations. I first began my volunteering by picking up donations from businesses in the community on specific days and dropping them off at Rose Haven. This often was picking up flower and plant donations from local stores or by picking up food donations from grocery stores. Being the plant lady was my favorite title and made me change my perspective on what donations or charity were. Although plants maybe are not considered ‘a need,’ the way guests would light up when it was a plant day showed me I needed to change my assumptions as to what should be donated to organizations. Everyone deserves to live a life in abundance no matter their circumstances.
Helping children with mobility impairments at Go Baby Go
“I’ve never looked at Christmas the same since.”
- Mark, KEENmate and joy-giver
I’ve volunteered with Go Baby Go, a community-based organization with chapters nationwide that help provide solutions to infants with mobility impairments. The Oregon chapter was linked up with OHSU’s (Oregon Health & Sciences University) pediatric therapists to solve some specific issues around early childhood mobility. I’ve seen first-hand how toys helped my kids, with no mobility impairments, to learn, grow and discover the workings of the world, and this opportunity should be available to all kids. The Go Baby Go Adapt-a-Gift Workshop was hosted in the KEEN Garage with about 20 other KEEN employees. We sat around a large table set up with wires, solder, soldering irons, big red pushable buttons, and a massive stack of brand new toys. The work mostly involved dismantling a toy and swapping out some of the built-in circuitry, redirecting to the large red buttons that would be easy for the kids to push even while laying on the ground, with their forehead, or minimal pressure applied. Seeing the massive stack of dozens of toys being loaded up, modified to bring joy to kids that need a fun holiday more than anybody, was one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever done. Go Baby Go has many chapters around the country, constantly upgrading and upcycling mobility devices for kids. The work is extremely rewarding and does not require any previous experience with soldering, circuitry or tools, as long as you’re in a guided event with Go Baby Go.
Enriching kids’ lives as a youth sports coach
“I want to give kids a wonderful experience with team sports so they learn confidence, teamwork, and sportsmanship. I truly believe it is setting them up for success later in life.”
- Tom, KEENmate and fun-maker
I’ve been volunteering as a coach with our local soccer club and Little League baseball club since 2018. These are recreational leagues, so the pressure is low and the focus is more on giving kids a good experience rather than dominating opponents. As a volunteer coach, the first thing I do is plan practices. But there’s so much more that goes into teaching kids a sport. I had great coaches growing up doing youth sports, and I want to give kids, including my son, a wonderful experience with team sports so they learn confidence, teamwork and sportsmanship. The skills I help teach them go way beyond the sport they are participating in – I truly believe it is setting them up for success later in life. Even just teaching kids how to listen and be coachable will go a long way as they develop, both in a classroom setting and in a sports setting. Like so many issues we are facing right now with the pandemic, there is actually a youth sports coach shortage – probably due to so many parents signing up their kids for sports this year coming out of a year off from many sports. Volunteering as a coach can help get more kids onto teams they may otherwise have to turn away.
Mentoring underserved youth at Big City Mountaineers
“Seven days is somehow this magical amount of time; you start with an awkward and polite group of strangers, and you watch these youth work through their discomfort, build confidence at new skills, and realize they can take on physical challenges.”
- Bex, KEENmate and comfort-zone expander
Big City Mountaineers (BCM) works to get underrepresented youth with barriers to access out into the backcountry for transformative experiences. Their signature program is small group week-long backpacking trips that combine the physical challenge of backpacking with curriculum designed to get youth thinking about themselves and how they overcome challenges. You don’t need to be an expert on backpacking or young people. If you strive to be patient, a good listener, and adaptable you’ll be doing all the right things to create a space that’s fun, confidence building, and rewarding. The youth curriculum helps when you’re an adult who’s nervous about their leadership, too!
We love to see you out there! Our fans inspire us every day. So be sure to share your #ActsofKEENness with us by tagging @keen on Instagram. Don't have an hour? No worries. Just take 10 minutes to pick up trash in your neighborhood (it's a great screen break and it's fun to do with kids!).