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5 Ways To Give To The Homeless This December

on December 19, 2015

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5 Ways To Give To The Homeless This December

In this Oct. 4, 2013, photo, a person walks by the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp in Portland, Ore.

In this Oct. 4, 2013, photo, a person walks by the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp in Portland, Ore.

Don Ryan/AP

Every night, about 4,000 people in Portland sleep on the streets, in their cars or in a shelter.In October, the City Council declared a housing and homeless emergency, and in recent weeks local nonprofits have partnered with the city to open two new shelters for veterans and for women.

Here are five ways you can give to the homeless this winter.

In Kind Donations

Many shelters need new and gently-used blankets, coats, socks, hats, scarves and gloves for adults and children. Unused hygiene products, new underwear and hand warmers are also helpful. Here are wish lists and instructions for donating to nonprofits that run many of the shelters in the Portland metro area: Transition Projects, The Portland Rescue Mission, Street Roots,Human Solutions and Central City Concern.

The Right 2 Dream Too camp also accepts donations and supplies at the front desk on Fourth Street. Right2Dream Too appreciates supplies like tarps, sleeping bags, blankets, flashlights, and laundry vouchers.

Holiday Gift Drives

Bradley Angle, which provides services and housing to survivors of domestic violence, is inviting 200 families to pick out gifts from a “holiday shop” this year.

The nonprofit has a comprehensive list of toys, houseware and personal items they’re looking for online. The most popular gifts include gift cards to Fred Meyer, Target and Ross; gas gift cards; tickets to zoos, movies and kids parks; and art supplies.

The Portland Rescue Mission provides personal holiday gifts to each person in their addiction recovery program.

“We have their growth leaders picking out individual presents, for every single one of those 160 people, to get them something that’s really special to them,” said Mike Deacon, the Portland Rescue Mission’s engagement manager.  The organization says a $40 donation covers the cost of one gift.

Sock Drives

Socks are one of the most needed items at homeless shelters, and for the past 10 years, the outdoor store Next Adventure has partnered with its customers and with Wigwam socks to donate hundreds of pairs to Portland nonprofits.

On Saturday, Dec. 12, all socks in the store will be 20 percent off, and for every pair customers purchase, Next Adventure and Wigwam will donate a pair to Bradley Angle and P:ear, an organization that works with homeless youth.

“Warm, dry feet are very, very important, and as we started to think about people in their community that, the outdoors is their home. We realized that would be a great way to give back to the community,” said Deek Haycamp, co-owner of Next Adventure.

To get customers into the giving spirit, Haycamp dresses up as an elf and co-owner Bryan Knudsen makes an appearance as Santa.

Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz also runs a city sock drive through Dec. 15.

Donation bins are in City Hall, the entrance to the Portland Building, at the Housing Bureau and Office of Equity and Human Rights in the Commonwealth Building on 6th Avenue, and at 1900 SW 4th.


Transition Projects, which operates several of the city’s homeless shelters, relies on volunteer groups to help cook and serve meals:

The group purchases, prepares, and serves dinner to up to 90 residents at one of our temporary housing facilities (Clark Center,Doreen’s Place, or Jean’s Place.)

People interested in providing a meal can contact Lauren Holt at Transition Projects for more information: or 503.280.4741.

The Oregon Food Bank accepts donations of both food and money. Cash donations help the organization purchase bulk food and cover expenses like trucks and freezers. The food bank has a list of its most needed foods online, including canned meat and beans, whole grains and shelf-stable milk.

Human Solutions, which runs Multnomah County’s winter family shelter, needs donations of milk, juice, instant oatmeal, cereal, fruit and children’s snacks.

The Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division also accepts donations of food. The Sunshine Division operates a food pantry six days a week and uses first responders to deliver emergency food boxes to people in need. People can drop donations off at police precinct offices. The most needed items include cereal, tuna, rice and beans.

Finally, the Portland Rescue Mission says donations of $1.60 cover the cost of one meal at its Burnside shelter. People can donate online or at participating New Seasons and Whole Foods stores.

Help Out At a New Shelter

Transition Projects is looking for volunteers to help out at the city’s new temporary shelter at the Jerome Sears Army Reserve Center.

The organization is looking for volunteers who can help prepare and serve Sunday suppers and deliver bagged lunches for 150 people. Volunteers can also partner with Ride Connection to pick up vans and drive guests to and from the new shelter.

Do Good Multnomah has opened a new shelter for veterans in partnership with the First Congregational United Church of Christ. The shelter is looking for volunteers to help out at the shelter overnight, between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

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