Let the Giving Begin: Portland Charities that Need Your Help

During the holidays, people in need aren’t hoping for the latest phone or designer shoes. They’re looking to provide for their families and for a place to stay until the next day. That’s why I’ve got a list of organizations that donate necessities and shelter to thousands of people in our community. Try stopping by one of these charities and filling your heart instead of your shopping cart.

Whether you’ve lived in Portland your entire life or you moved here last month, there’s no better way to get to know your community than to serve it this holiday season.

Food Banks

Oregon Food Bank

The Oregon Food Bank has two main locations where people can volunteer and those in need can pick up food. The Oregon Food Bank has also partnered with over twenty organizations in and around Portland, making it easy to give no matter where you live. Location information is found here. Go here to volunteer, advocate, attend an event, host a food drive, or partner with the Oregon Food Bank.

Though nothing can compare to the happiness you’ll feel from donating to the Oregon Food Bank, don’t forget to check their Twitter feed before you make your donation to see all of the amazing rewards they have set up if you donate through other local businesses.

Sunshine Division

Sunshine Division is more than just a food bank. This organization accepts food, clothing, equipment, services, corporate support, vehicles, stocks, and real estate. Go here and go to “Get Involved” to see all the ways you can help, including donating money, helping with food drives, becoming a sponsor, and more.

This December, Sunshine Division plans to pack and deliver over 3,800 holiday food boxes. To be a part of this exciting effort, email volunteer@sunshinedivision.org to RSVP.

Tualatin School House Pantry

The Tualatin School House Pantry is partnered with Oregon Food Bank and “is supported by local churches, businesses, social and civic organizations, schools, individuals, and local government agencies.” The pantry provides emergency food to families, and it aims to do so with a welcoming, cozy environment. It also operates with a volunteer staff whose only reward is the help it gives.

A list of the pantry’s current needs is right on the front page of the website. If you want to do more, go here to learn about other ways you can help.

Sunshine Pantry

Sunshine Pantry accepts a variety of donations, including food, paper and hygiene products, and household and other miscellaneous items. This family-run food bank currently supplies around 500 Portland-area families with food, toiletries, and clothing.

Here’s a list of current priority needs for the shelter. If you’d like to volunteer your time to help with a food drive or even to help repair vehicles used to deliver food, find out more here.

Homeless Shelters

Portland Rescue Mission

In addition to shelter, Portland Rescue Mission offers food, showers,  clothing, restrooms, a guest care center, mail service, referrals, and a chapel. They have overnight shelter, extended shelter for men and women in transition toward housing, and winter shelter from November through March. Portland Rescue Mission serves hot meals 365 days a year.

This shelter gratefully accepts funds, volunteers, and local business partners. Portland Rescue Mission seeks volunteers who are highly relational and can commit to a minimum of one year of service. Even if you know you’re not able to make that year commitment, the shelter still accepts financial and tangible donations with no commitment expectation. Click here to volunteer or email volunteer@pdxmission.org to contact the organization.

Cityteam Ministries

For 60 years, Cityteam Ministries has provided hot meals, shelter, life transformation programs, clothing, hygiene items, learning and career help, and many other opportunities for people in need to feel safe for a night and to try and create a better life for themselves.

Cityteam Ministries accepts donations, corporate partners, church partners, planned giving, radio donations, and volunteers. Click here for a monthly schedule of volunteer opportunities.

Portland Homeless Family Solutions

Portland Homeless Family Solutions partners with local congregations and shelters in the community and works to find housing for families who have been turned away due to overcrowding at other facilities. Portland Homeless Family Solutions was able to offer shelter to 120 families during the past year. These families were provided with private sleeping space, food, showers, laundry, computers, and clothing. Portland Homeless Family Solutions’ mission is to “build dignity, restore power, and promote autonomy for the families who live there.” To create permanent change in the lives of those in need, it’s not enough to give them a bed for one night. Shelters like this give people the chance to get back on their feet and to not allow homelessness to define who they are.

Portland Homeless Family Solutions appreciates financial donations, volunteers, donation drives, vehicle donations, planned giving, and matching gifts. On December 14th, PHFS is hosting their annual Holiday Village event. This event includes holiday crafts, Santa, and food. Plus, parents in need are able to select gifts for their children. All gifts for this event need to be delivered to 1221 Southwest Yamhill, Suite #210 by Monday, December 10th. If you’re interested in hosting a donation drive, contact emma@pdxhfs.org. If you’d like to volunteer for this event, email bethany@pdxhfs.org.

Gifts aren’t the only way to make someone feel special this holiday season. Donating some of your compassion and time to those who haven’t gotten help in a while is worth more than any material item on the shelves.

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