West Women’s gets birthday gift of volunteer work


Jack Heims

Rather than ask for a trip to Hawaii or a new car for his 50th birthday, Jack Heims called Lori Moiel, volunteer coordinator at West Women’s and Children’s Shelter in Portland, Ore., with a request that would literally change the lives of the people living and working there from the ground up.

Jack’s idea was to ask 50 of his friends to donate their time and resources to the confidential domestic violence shelter, in lieu of personal birthday gifts.

West Women’s graciously accepted and on his birthday, 67 of Heims’ friends and colleagues spent three hours ripping up and replacing linoleum, building shelves and painting walls.

One of the volunteers, an employee of Wells Fargo Bank, even arranged for West Women’s staff to select furniture from the bank’s warehouse. As a result, the shelter received new desks and file cabinets for the director and administrator’s offices and new chairs and recliners for the women’s living room. Those who could not make it sent money, and many of those who were there came back in the following days and weeks, offering un-or underused items of their own to West Women’s.

Heims’ birthday donation was worth more than $2,800 to The Salvation Army’s program. Donated items included: plants for a new landscaping project, floor-to-ceiling pantry shelves, office furniture, linoleum, a 19-inch television, more than $400 in cash, as well as the personal time and efforts of Jack, his wife and the volunteers. What’s more, West Women’s continues to receive donations in honor of Heims’ birthday and expects they will continue to do so.

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