When it comes to volunteer opportunities in Puyallup, there’s no shortage of organizations or institutions to get involved with.
Locals might pass several in Puyallup on their daily commute: St. Francis House, the YMCA Youth Investment Center, The Puyallup Food Bank, New Hope Resource Center, Step by Step.
Puyallup resident Tamara Jones saw them all — and she saw an immense need for help.
“I was really discouraged to see so many struggling nonprofits,” said Jones, 47. “Funding is shrinking almost as fast as the need is growing.”
But Jones is only one person — and she can only help so much. That’s why in 2011, she created a website called thepowerofoneday.com to encourage others to volunteer.
If there’s a need in the community and an organization that’s meeting that need, that’s the organization I want to help. The Power of One Day is about getting information out there — a portal for people to go through.
Tamara Jones, creator and director of The Power of One Day
“If there’s a need in the community and an organization that’s meeting that need, that’s the organization I want to help,” Jones said. “The Power of One Day is about getting information out there — a portal for people to go through.”
The idea of the website was simple: an online tool that allows those interested in volunteering to match their interests and passions with an organization in an easy, user-friendly way.
“I felt like it was something I needed to do,” Jones said about the website.
Under the “Volunteer” tab on the website, users can look through 18 different categories to find what they’re looking for. Aside from “Fundraising,” which advises giving donations and “Lawn Maintenance,” which is pending construction, each category has at least one suggestion and connection to an organization or charity. Some categories include Administration, Automotive Repair, Education, Elderly/Disabled, Homeless, Organizing, Special Motivational Speakers and Toys/Gifts.
Jones facilitated connections with all organizations before posting them on her website, making sure to know what exactly they needed help with. She knew they were busy, but was patient.
“It can be really hard,” she said. “I really want to support them at no cost to them.”
11 Puyallup organizations
6 Tacoma organizations
4 Pierce County-wide organizations
1 Auburn organizations
22 organizations total
In all, she has 22 organizations listed, with 11 in Puyallup, one in Auburn, six in Tacoma, and four that apply to all of Pierce County.
“I’m always adding more,” Jones said about the website. “If I come across an organization that I don’t have a category for, I make a new one.”
Jones said she came up with the name for The Power of One Day by thinking a lot about how it doesn’t take much to help out—that even one day out of the month can make a big difference.
“The key is to find your passion,” Jones said. “I can go and serve at different organizations, but it might not be my thing…Every single person has a gift and has something valuable to share.”
Jones has worked with many organizations, including the St. Francis House, where she does hair for its annual fashion show fundraiser. As a hairdresser at Salon Ish, Jones feels like she’s in her element when she contributes there.
In the past, Jones also volunteered at The Crossing in Parkland for 10 years, which got shut down for reasons unknown to Jones. The Crossing first started out in a church parking lot and grew bigger and bigger as more and more people began using it as a resource for showers, clothing and laundry. Jones gave free haircuts.
“When it closed down it left this gaping hope in this area and it was really sad for me, and I was thinking that it didn’t have to happen,” Jones said.
She started gathering information for her website in 2009, then launched it in 2011. Over the past years, she’s seen its number of users grow from around 50 to over a thousand.
Now, Jones hosts monthly lunches that gather both nonprofit and ministry leaders to discuss community outreach.
“It’s a unique opportunity for them to see what’s going on in the community,” she said. “That’s really what these lunches are about.”
Moving forward, Jones has a few other organizations she hopes to add to her website and encourages any nonprofits that are interested to contact her through the website’s email.
The key is to find your passion. I can go and serve at different organizations, but it might not be my thing…Every single person has a gift and has something valuable to share.
“If I can do something to help someone else, that makes me feel really good, and I think we need more of that,” Jones said. “Many hands make light work.”