SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Gives week kicked off Saturday with Cleaning from The Core, and the week-long volunteer event is continuing, a city-wide effort to eventually name Spokane one of the most compassionate places in the country.
Mayor David Condon said it might take a few years but the first step is getting people involved in a volunteer project like bagging food for the less fortunate at places like Second Harvest Food Bank.
"I volunteer once a week, usually in the evening for two hours," Steve Borchard said.
"My birthday was yesterday and this year I thought I'm going to give back for my birthday, rather than take presents in," volunteer Claudia Campbell said. "I'm putting in a one to four shift today and I know I'll be back."
Borchard and Campbell are among the roughly 1,000 people who have signed up to participate in volunteer projects this week. But that alone is not enough. The charter for Compassion International wants to see a permanent change that will restore the golden rule that is 'treat all others as you wish to be treated yourself.'
"You make a big impact in a short amount of time. It's hard work but it's rewarding," Borchard said.
The organization also looks at how many non-profits are in the area and much the community donates. Condon said that's the next step but right now the focus is volunteerism.
"I think we have the right pieces and we'll see how we are this year and then we'll put an action plan together to get there over the next year," Condon said.
So is this something Spokane can accomplish? To put it in perspective, Louisville, Kentucky has made it on to the compassionate city list. That community has a week similar to Spokane Gives Week which draws nearly 100,000 volunteers.
So what the city is doing with Spokane Gives Week is similar to what Louisville did to earn their place on the list.