Vaccine Voices: ‘An amazing orchestra of kindness and hard work’

It was a season of strife in the U.S. with vandalism, violence and hurtful rhetoric making the news daily. So, when Sallie Cohen found herself feeling overwhelmed by the negativity, she decided to try something positive, posting this note on social media: “Is anyone interested in creating a group where all we do is good stuff?” They were, and they did.

This month, Cohen and a team of more than 200 volunteers celebrate the fifth anniversary of Positive Charge PDX, a non-profit whose mission is simply to “amplify kindness.”

“I got a huge response from people,” said Cohen. “It is more than just wishing and hoping; you’ve got to do it. Doing it makes today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today.”

The Positive Charge PDX team works in many ways to bring kindness to a wide range of people, but none, perhaps, more critical than those fighting COVID-19. Last spring, 70 volunteers helped an estimated 1,700 people get vaccinated. Those included seniors, frontline workers and TriMet drivers.

“It was an amazing orchestra of kindness and hard work, all during a time of great challenge and uncertainty in our community,” Cohen said.

Once their work with the Vaccine Project was complete, the volunteer army launched the Emergency Kindness Event for “health care heroes.”

“Health care workers in hospitals are just at the end of their rope,” Cohen said.

Volunteers from all over the community, including school children and seniors, put together kits with weighted neck wraps, lotions, candles, bath salts and relaxation/meditation cards written by a psychotherapist and life coach. The kits contained four cards, each small enough to fit in a pocket for easy access at any time.

The kits went out to ICU nurses and emergency room staff at hospitals across the Portland metro area.

“It was really spectacular,” said Cohen. “Just knowing we’re doing something to change people’s lives, that feeling is so much better than just worrying and wishing and hoping the world was actually better.”

To find a vaccine or booster, check out these high-volume sites. Vaccine and testing sites can also be found at Get Vaccinated Oregon.

“Health care hero” Tamar Solinger, Emergency Dept. staff at St. Vincent Hospital East Pavilion, enjoys a kindness kit put together by volunteers with Positive Charge PDX.