Passionate About the Portland area
and the Moms Who Live Here

40+ Places to Show Love and Fill Needs in Portland

I own a house. While it’s not huge or fancy, it is still mine to call home. Inside, my family has food, water, heat, beds to sleep in, and safety. We have two reliable, nearly-new vehicles to drive us when and where we need to go. My husband has a well-paying job that allows me to stay at home with our children, each of whom are more than adequately fed, clothed, and entertained every day of their easy lives. We go to the dentist regularly, and when we get sick we go to the doctor, knowing our insurance will pick up the tab. Our kids attend good schools where they are safe from violence and are cared for by loving teachers and volunteers.

Our life is content. Full. We want for nothing, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say we live in excess. Compared to so many others, even in the very town we live in, we are privileged. Maybe even rich. I cannot imagine what it must be like for those less fortunate during the day-to-day, much less this time of year when it is supposed to be the most joyous of all. Those of us who have plenty should be concerned about the needy all year long, but in actuality we so rarely think about them until the holidays. I guess that is better than never.

Are they warm enough today? Have they had enough to eat? Are they safe? And what about tomorrow? And the next day, and the day after that? What about their children? Are they warm, fed and safe, too?

volunteer and donate in Portland

While we are out shopping for festive dinners and gifts, blasting the heat in our cars and homes, and absent-mindedly humming tunes of “goodwill to men,” here is a list of places and ideas to really spread some goodwill this Christmas, and the rest of the year, too! Volunteer your time, donate some needed staples, and perhaps we can show love and fill needs by providing a little warmth and joy to those who need it most.

Local Adopt-a-Family programs that provide food staples, gifts, and even Christmas trees and decorations to families who cannot afford a holiday celebration:

  1. Lutheran Community Services
  2. Christmas Family Adoption Foundation
  3. Greater New Hope Family Services
  4. The Salvation Army (Angel Tree)


Food pantries accepting canned goods and food staples to make grocery boxes for needy families and individuals. Some of these also provide other living essentials for hygiene and warmth as well:


  1. Oregon Food Bank
  2. The Sunshine Division
  3. The Salvation Army
  4. Tualatin School House Pantry
  5. Sunshine Pantry
  6. Lift Urban Portland
  7. NE Emergency Food Program
  8. Hereford House

Soup kitchens and shelters that offer hot meals and/or a place to spend the night for the hungry and homeless. Many also offer housing assistance to help families find permanent shelter:

  1. Union Gospel Mission
  2. City Team Ministries
  3. Transition Projects
  4. Portland Rescue Mission
  5. Outside In
  6. Portland Homeless Family Solutions
  7. Clackamas Service Center
  8. Raphael House

showlovefillneeds4Toy and clothing drives/organizations who gather and deliver needed items and special treats for local, needy children and families:

  1. Toys for Tots
  2. Toy n Joy Makers
  3. Holiday Store
  4. Impact NW
  5. Human Solutions
  6. Mother & Child Education Center



Charity runs during the holiday season whose proceeds benefit worthy causes:

  1. Turkey Trot (Thanksgiving)
  2. Reindeer Run on 12/2
  3. Ho Ho 5K on 12/3
  4. Jingle Bell Run on 12/3
  5. Holiday Half Marathon & 5K on 12/10
  6. PRC Winter 5K on 12/16, 1/13, 2/10
  7. Ugly Sweater Run/Walk on 12/23

Other local, year-round places to donate (time, supplies, and money):

  1. Embrace Oregon
  2. Clackamas Service Center
  3. Hands on Portland
  4. Vincent de Paul
  5. Doernbecker Children’s Hospital
  6. Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel
  7. Ronald McDonald House
  8. SnoCap Charities
  9. Northwest Children’s Outreach
  10. Street Roots
  11. Open School
  12. Store to Door

Are there others not on this list that should be? What does your family do to volunteer or donate to the less fortunate during the holidays and the rest of the year?

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2 Responses to 40+ Places to Show Love and Fill Needs in Portland

  1. Miel December 8, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    Community Transitional School is a school for homeless & at-risk children:

    Cares NW is a service for children who are victims of domestic abuse:

  2. Sarah December 11, 2015 at 11:11 am #

    Thank you for including Street Roots in your list. Each time you purchase the newspaper from a vendor you are not only helping them financially but you are also helping them to maintain human connections. It can be easy to forget how important that can be for someone who is struggling.