Nonprofits Count on Year-End Giving to Help Needy People Survive the Pandemic

Nonprofits Count on Year-End Giving to Help Needy People Survive the Pandemic

Portland, OR. Local families are in need of help after a year of unprecedented challenges. Pacific Northwest communities have supported causes like Black Lives Matter, record-breaking fundraising for political parties, and support for small businesses forced to close due to Covid-19. Nonprofits are hoping that they’ll receive much-needed year-end donations this holiday season. (Causes like Children’s Book Bank, pictured above, represent one of many local nonprofits that serve local families).

There are many meaningful actions that donors can take to help local communities in need of shelter, food, basic necessities, or toys for Christmas morning. On we have a page with a list of nonprofits, here’s a link to our partner’s page. Below is also a list of diverse nonprofits that may inspire those who can afford to offer time and resources to help these imperative causes thrive into the new year.

Volunteers at Blanchet House are encouraged to apply and follow strict Covid guidelines to ensure the safety of the community.

  • Blanchet House provides food, shelter, and aid to any in need with mutual respect and compassion. You can sign up to volunteer and learn more about donations on the non-profit’s website.  Blanchet House is also participating in Willamette Weekly’s Give Guide and are trying to raise 35,000 dollars by December 31st.
  • The Christmas Family Adoption Foundation makes it possible to support an entire family in need during the holiday season. The PNW families are nominated to receive Christmas gifts from a wishlist. You can contribute in multiple ways on the foundation’s website so if you are unable to adopt a family, you can still support this worthy cause.
  • Oregon Food Bank is another excellent way to make sure those in need have a warm meal this winter. The organization has extended it’s Giving Tuesday fundraiser, and are also participating in Willamette Weekly’s Give Guide. With 1,400 food pantries all over Oregon and SW Washington, and you can sign up to volunteer and help keep the business thriving on it’s website.
  • Children’s Book Bank is a wonderful organization to give to around the holidays. This non-profit knows how important books are in children’s lives and has donated over 650,000 books to children in the Portland area.  Book donations are being accepted along with monetary contributions, and you can volunteer with Children’s Book Bank virtually.
  • Store To Door makes sure that seniors and those with disabilities receive the groceries that they need through volunteer grocery shopping and delivery. This busy non-profit is always in need of volunteers and have many different ways that you can contribute. Store To Door has been improving the quality of lives of those in need since 1989.
  • Rose Haven works to ensure the safety of women, children, and marginalized genders that are experiencing homelessness, poverty, and other traumas. This organization provides a safe and stable community for these individuals, along with health resources and emotional support. Rose Haven’s volunteer positions focus on to-go meals, door-to-door services, and Covid-19 support currently, and there are many ways to donate to this worthy cause on the non-profit’s website.
  • Sunshine Division is another organization that will be in full swing ensuring that Pacific Northwest families get everything they need this winter. Food donations are always appreciated by this organization (with new Covid restrictions in place), and the non-profit hopes to continue to help families in the Portland area through monetary contributions this holiday season. Sunshine Division’s annual Winter Wonderland event runs from November 27th through January 2nd, and you can enjoy the drive-through light show from the safety of your car.

Sunshine Division organizes this Covid-safe family activity to support a great cause.

  • West Linn Food Pantry provides West Linn and Lake Oswego families with emergency food donations. They accept curbside food donations every Thursday between 1PM and 6PM at the non-profit’s West Linn location.
  • Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program gifts new clothing and toys to families for Christmas in the Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. You can donate these items on the organization’s website, and find out more about the many ways this non-profit helps marginalized communities in the Portland Metro area.
  • Hands-On Greater Portland is an excellent resource for finding out how you can volunteer and get involved this holiday season. This non-profit works to connect volunteers with projects and will help you find the best way to utilize your resources to help our local communities thrive. The site keeps an updated project calendar as well, to keep you updated on when your help is needed.

Please support any of the very worthy causes or those on our partner’s page.

Feral Cat Coalition Leads “Season’s Feedings” Holiday Cat Food Drive

Feral Cat Coalition Leads “Season’s Feedings” Holiday Cat Food Drive

Portland, OR. Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO) has launched its annual Season’s Feedings Holiday Cat Food Drive. The food gathered during the drive goes to feral cat caregivers to help feed their feral cats and organizers say the need this year is greater than ever.

5,049 pounds of food were donated during the Season’s Feedings Cat Food Drive in 2019

This year the following local businesses are collecting between November 1st and December 31st. Supporters can also purchase food online to be shipped directly to FCCO.

Happy Tails – Milwaukie: 4370 SE King Rd, Ste. 250-260, Milwaukie. Offering 20% off all food purchased for donation!

Healthy Pet – Lake Oswego: 16140 Boones Ferry Rd, Lake Oswego

Healthy Pets NW – Multnomah Village: 3612 SW Troy St, Portland

ROAR: Due to Covid-19, ROAR has shifted to online-only, but is accepting food donations at their local pick-up site just off Alberta Street (request address) and cash donations toward food online.

*Sellwood Pet Supply: 8334 SE 17th Ave, Portland. *They are collecting cash donations toward food.

As a part of the Season’s Feedings cat food drive, the FCCO is offering free cat food through December and January to caregivers of feral cats that bring cats in to get spayed or neutered. FCCO offers a program to safely spay and neuter stray, feral, and barn cats at no cost or for a suggested donation of $40, and at a small price for pet cats. At the moment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, services are unavailable for pet cats for safety reasons, and appointments must be made to get cats spayed and neutered. All surgeries are done by licensed veterinarians at the FCCO’s South Portland clinic. Along with offering to spay and neuter cats, the organization also offers vaccinations, flea and ear mite treatment, and an eat-tip. FCCO also has a program called Kitten Caboose that works on finding kittens brought in homes to be adopted into.

Just a fraction of the food generously donated by Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon’s community.

This year the organization celebrated 25 years since its inception in 1995, and has spayed and neutered over 100,000 cats since then. Through the Kitten Caboose program, more than 1000 kittens have found homes.

From FCCO:

“Every cat deserves a little holiday gift this year, especially the outdoor feral and stray cats lucky enough to have someone looking after them. Many local businesses are participating in collecting food and generous individuals are purchasing food and donating directly to us.”

Christmas For Kids Modifies Event For First Time In Thirty Years

Christmas For Kids Modifies Event For First Time In Thirty Years

Portland, OR. For over 30 years, Christmas For Kids has helped with holiday shopping sprees for deserving kids hand-selected by their school counselors. Unfortunately, the annual volunteer event pictured above in 2019, won’t look the same this year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, volunteers won’t be on hand to help with the shopping. Typically, students work with a Christmas for Kids shopper, and together they check off a Christmas list which usually includes things like needed clothes and coats. Volunteers are vital because they often augment allotted funds to help make wishlists complete.

A young girl, followed by her volunteer shopper, pushes her cart around while looking at plush animals during last year’s event.

Bill Wilson, a board member at Christmas For Kids, explains the decision to modify the event. “It’s kind of heartbreaking with COVID and then so many people losing their jobs or being furloughed or unemployed. The need is even greater this year than it has been in the past and it’s sad that we can’t have the event.”

According to Wilson, the nonprofit doesn’t want to risk spreading COVID-19, and that’s why volunteers must stay home. But organizers hope those generous individuals will make a contribution to the bottom line. Last year, the volunteer shoppers donated $15,000 to help complete shopping lists.

A child is fitted for a coat during last year’s event.

Christmas For Kids helps around 450-500 children each year and since 2004 the organization has helped over 9,800 kids. This year the list of worthy recipients is over 1,000. While volunteers won’t be present this year sponsors like superstore Fred Meyers, are promising to bring in additional staff and people to help on the day of the event. Items to expect this year include packaged clothing for girls and boys such as socks, underwear, fleece blankets, fleece coats, and fleece beanies. These packages will also include mystery merchandise from Columbia Sportswear Company.

Tigard Police attends and hands out teddy bears from the event last year.

Partnering with Fred Meyers has given the organization a substantial discount as well as discounts for items from Columbia. This allows the organization to maximize the amount they can give to the children.

With a larger goal of helping kids this Christmas, according to Wilson, the organization is going to be spending more money than they had anticipated due to the high need this year. To help with Christmas For Kids donations click here.

A combination of donated funds, donated items, and volunteer efforts keep overhead low; 95¢ of every $1.00 donated is spent on the children.

From Christmas For Kids website:

Christmas for Kids is a magical event where local Portland, Oregon Metro area kids are selected by their Title One School counselors, due to extreme need, to join a volunteer shopper to check off a Christmas wishlist. Our focus is to provide basic clothing needs for the child and their immediate siblings.

A combination of donated funds, donated items (coats, books, hygiene items, etc.), vastly reduced prices, and volunteer contributions create a unique situation in our organization where, on average, over 95¢ of every dollar donated is spent on the child on the day of the event.


Write Around Portland Amplifying Voices of the Community

Write Around Portland Amplifying Voices of the Community

Portland, OR. Write Around Portland virtually hosted its annual event Raise Your Pen, on October 8th. The event was emceed by Slam Poet and Write Around Portland board member Marisol Tawadros and personal work was shared by five Write Around Portland writers. Through the event, Write Around Portland was able to raise over $45,000 which is earmarked for the nonprofit’s work in the community. The night was spent writing and acknowledging the importance and the power of writing.

During the pandemic, Write Around Portland has transitioned all of its workshops, programming, and operations to be done remotely. Among the services that the organization offers is a bi-weekly online writing workshop and a bi-monthly BIPOC online writing workshop specifically for people who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. The organization is also partnering with agencies to offer mail-based and remote writing workshops for people who are experiencing isolation and barriers to accessing services.

From Elizebett Eslinger, the Executive Director of Write Around Portland:

“Writing is essential. With a public health crisis and systemic racial inequities especially exposed, the need for writing and connection takes on a new fullness. At Write Around Portland, we are amplifying the stories and voices we need to hear, caring for our community, and continuing our work to build a more respectful and just world through the power of writing. 

We continue our racial equity and anti-racist work, including expanding our own learning; challenging and working to dismantle inequitable structures within our organization and the broader sector; and sharing ways our Write Around community can get involved with the Movement for Black Lives, engage in anti-racist learning and work, and support BIPOC-led organizations.”

Write Around Portland has taken this time to implement remote adaptations for a safe community in the organization. The changes of this year have given the space to encourage the staff to take more time off while they work on contingency plans for returning to in-person when it is safe and responsible to do so.

From Write Around Portland:

We hold free writing workshops for adults and youth in hospitals, schools, treatment centers, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, low-income housing residences and other social service agencies. To ensure everyone has access to writing in community, we provide journals, pens, bus tickets, childcare and snacks for participants in these workshops.

Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals Poised to Pick President of the Furry States

Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals Poised to Pick President of the Furry States

Portland, OR. Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals (OFOSA) is running a photo contest to raise needed funds. Now through October 30th, donors can vote for the dog or cat they’d like to see win the title of President of the Furry States. Right now, in the lead for the title of President of the Furry States, with 225 votes, it’s Pippi Longears. (Seen above.) Pippi has an ambitious platform. The three-year-old dog promises to protect you from squirrels, keep your canine in line on morning walks, and create a warm spot in bed.

(OFOSA) came up with this novel idea because like most local nonprofits, it was forced to cancel in-person benefits because of COVID-19. Anne Haynes, Director of Development, explains the decision to host a presidential fundraising event. “It has been such a strange year and we have not been able to hold any of our in-person fundraising events, so I was thinking of what might be a fun, COVID-friendly way to raise funds in a positive way. That’s how our President of the Furry States was born.”

OFOSA is a foster-based animal rescue organization whose mission is to reduce the number of adoptable animals that are euthanized in overcrowded shelters, restore them to good health, and through adoption, provide them forever loving homes.

Entry into the contest and voting is open until Oct. 30th at 11 pm. It costs ten dollars to enter your pet and five-dollar minimum to vote for your favorite. Click here to access their entry site for the photo contest.

Chance is a 13-year-old rescue and is currently in second place.

Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals has faced challenges, like losing its in-store adoption locations with PetSmart and Petco due to COVID-19 restrictions and having to redefine the way to run business to keep everyone safe and still find homes for the animals.

Despite complications due to COVID-19 for OFOSA, the organization had 100 new foster sign-ups since people were staying home more than ever. By the end of September, they had already surpassed the intake numbers for the whole year of 2019.

Purrl the three-year-old and deaf cat is currently first in the feline party.

The organization has seen more serious medical cases this year and have been able to take most of those animals in. These animals are most likely to be euthanized because shelters are lacking the funds right now to repair broken limbs, fix bad teeth, and/or remove ruptured eyes.

In times of living with COVID-19, Haynes and the rest at OFOSA feels a huge benefit of their mission is that pets show their unconditional love for their owners and they know the word could use much more of that.

According to Haynes, “owning an animal has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, improve heart health, keep your company, help you make friends, teach kids responsibility, and improve your immune system.  With all of the changes we’ve had to go through this year with COVID and the stress of the ‘real people’ election, we wanted to remind people of the love of animals.”

Since the beginning, in 2002, the organization has rescued over 19, 200 cats and dogs.

From Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals website: Our team is comprised of 5 dedicated animal lovers, a volunteer Board of Directors who provides strategic guidance for OFOSA, and hundreds of volunteers who contribute their time and talent to virtually every aspect of our operation. Without these volunteers, we would not be able to fulfill our mission.

Nonprofit “Because People Matter” Hands Out Lunches to Needy People

Nonprofit “Because People Matter” Hands Out Lunches to Needy People

Portland, OR. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Because People Matter (BPM), has had to modify popular programs to meet new challenges. The nonprofit is now assembling and delivering lunches (seen above) instead of hosting weekly meals underneath the Burnside Bridge every Thursday night. The outreach effort, called Night Strike, was an opportunity for members of Portland’s homeless community to enjoy a hot meal and receive additional services such as a haircut and have their clothes/shoes replaced. The outreach effort brought together approximately 200 volunteers to provide food, clothing, toiletries, haircuts, and foot washing for over 300 guests. Now, such volunteering is not possible, because of social distancing requirements.

But this isn’t the end of the program, instead, BPM has implemented the Sunday afternoon walkabouts where they hand out lunches three times a week to COVID-sanctioned city camps. There are potentially from 120 to 180 people at a given time in these camps.

Volunteers gather materials and supplies for a Sunday walkabout.

Lesley Snyder, co-founder, and administrator explains her decision to implement these Sunday walkabouts. “We waited for all summer long and are just now implementing walkabouts again on Sunday afternoons we feel like that’s a safer time of the day for most people, but we limit it to only about eight people so…this is dramatically reduced.”

The camps have had to lower their capacity due to COVID-19, needing to separate beds in order to be six feet apart. Some have also requested safe spaces for different groups of people including but not limited to individuals who identify as LGBTQ, trans, bi-racial, people of color.

Because People Matter is partnering with the city of Portland and is also collaborating with organizations like Medical Teams International. That nonprofit had previously attended Night Strike and provided medical and dental care to guests in the camps.

To raise funds for needed programs, Because People Matter hosted a virtual gala on September 16th. However, procuring items for the fundraiser was a struggle for the nonprofit as Snyder explains. “When COVID-19 hit we just couldn’t ask local vendors who were shutting their doors and laying people off to give us things for a fundraiser in six months we didn’t even know if it was going to happen in six months.”

Volunteers help hand out lunches for Sunday walkabouts.

COVID-19 has created new challenges for BPM and according to Snyder everyone at the nonprofit continues to work harder than ever they have especially in unusual circumstances.

Snyder is also hoping to recoup some of the funds that they weren’t able to raise this year because of COVID-19 through this virtual event. This will be different from previous virtual gala’s as they won’t be auctioning instead, they are using text to give, and although they’re asking for people to register for the event anybody is welcome to join at 7 pm.

Click here to access Because People Matter’s virtual gala.

From Because People Matter website: We exist to develop and sustain relational environments that create movement within groups and individuals to demonstrate love and generosity lived out in the world. Because People Matter creates relational environments that provide Relief, Mobilization, and Transformation.

Basic Rights Oregon Takes Covid Challenges in Stride

Basic Rights Oregon Takes Covid Challenges in Stride

Portland, OR. It is no secret that non-profits across the country have experienced the same economic struggles as for-profit businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many have also found the communities they represent have needed them the most. This is especially true for Basic Rights Oregon, a Portland-based organization that advocates and fights for the equality of LGBTQ residents of Oregon (member meetings have moved to virtual, as pictured above).

As the shelter-in-place order began in March, businesses and communities screeched to a halt in an attempt to slow the spread of Coronavirus. Basic Rights Oregon quickly learned that discrimination was not going to slow down or stop along with it. “We tend to be the go-to source for folks who are reaching out about experiencing discrimination based on their sexual orientation or their gender identity in the workplace, a housing situation, or with healthcare. Those calls haven’t stopped”, says Margot Martin, Development Director at Basic Rights Oregon. “If anything, they’ve gotten more intense.”

This was especially made clear when Portland experienced mass layoffs in the service industry, a work industry that has a substantial LGBTQ population. Basic Rights Oregon had an influx of calls from applicants for government assistance that did not have representation on federal website forms when asking to select a gender identity. There are over 4,200 Oregonians that do not identify as “Male” or “Female”- the only two gender options on these federal documents that were an important step in getting the resources they needed to endure Covid-19. Basic Rights is working with Oregon state agencies to ensure transgender and non-binary Oregonians can still access these vital resources.

“We have relationships with state agencies that have helped work on getting that “X” marker and were able to quickly connect with them to get answers for the folks in our community that were asking ‘hey, how can I get these benefits?’ We were able to do that. We’re continuing to get people connected with resources and make sure that they’re as taken care of as possible”, Martin elaborated.

A Basic Rights Oregon event before Covid-19.

This win for the community defined the momentum of continuing their non-profit’s mission to stay diligent through adversity- whether that be a pandemic or an election that could be incredibly important to the future of the LGBTQ community. Basic Rights Oregon has no problem thinking positively, and its decision to continue to have uplifting events and be a support system for the communities they represent shows strength. The nonprofit’s annual event, Ignite, is moving to a virtual platform, and staffers hope it works to unite their supporters and community members just as it has in the past. This year, the theme is the roaring 20’s, specified as the new roaring 20’s. What started as a great costume idea for an event near Halloween, has gained much more meaning as the current presidential election has unfolded.

“When we were planning this theme- this was before all of the things happened”, Martin says, referring to ethical controversies in the current US election, along with overall themes of the Trump presidency,  “but it feels more important now than ever. We’ve been locked into a place of little hope and a lot of despair over the past 4 years. It’s been a challenge and tough time for our community, but we’re resilient- this community always has been.”

2020’s Ignite will be virtual.

Ignite 2020: The New Roaring 20’s will take place on Thursday, October 29th, and will be entirely virtual. The event will be an hour-long live stream broadcast featuring community stories and messages, fundraising, inspiration for ways you can advocate for change during the remaining election season, and an auction that begins October 26th. They have also partnered with Vibrant Table, a Portland-based catering company, to provide a wine and meal delivery experience for participants. Basic Rights Oregon hopes that the event will provide a positive connection for the non-profit’s members and supporters, especially now that many members have struggled with feelings of isolation from friends, family, and their community.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel in this moment. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that when we all get on the same page, stand up and say that we’re going to keep doing the work, we’re going to keep protesting, we’re going to stay out on the streets because we want to see change happen- It feels like a groundswell, a roaring moment.”

From Basic Rights Oregon:

Basic Rights Oregon will ensure that all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Oregonians experience equality by building a broad and inclusive politically powerful movement, shifting public opinion, and achieving policy victories.

Our vision is to ensure that all LGBTQ Oregonians live free from discrimination and be treated with dignity and respect in every community in our state.

Basic Rights Oregon works fearlessly and tirelessly to build a strong, vibrant, powerful, and progressive movement for LGBTQ equality. LGBTQ Oregonians exist in every community, and we understand that we have to engage in strategic, values-based coalitions to address the many needs of our communities. As such, building alliances with progressive groups that advocate for working families, racial justice, immigrant rights, reproductive justice, and campaign reform will be essential to winning policies that meet the varied needs of our diverse community.

Maurice Lucas Foundation Raises Over $600,000 at 10th Annual Gala

Maurice Lucas Foundation Raises Over $600,000 at 10th Annual Gala

Portland, OR. The Maurice Lucas Foundation held its 10th annual gala on September 18th. The virtual event attracted over 1,000 foundation supporters, and the nonprofit was able to raise over $600,000. Donations will be used for scholarship programs to support under-served students at six high schools in Portland as well as Harriet Tubman Middle School and Parkrose Middle School. It will also go toward the foundation’s academic, character building, and athletic programs for kids and young adults. KOIN-TV news co-anchor Ken Boddie and auctioneer Johnna Lee Wells co-hosted the virtual gala (as seen above). The gala featured videos of students whose lives have been changed through the foundation’s programs.

The Lucas family toasts during the gala. From left: David Lucas, Maurice Jr., and Pam Lucas.

The goal of the Maurice Lucas Foundation is to challenge students to grow and become resilient people and strong leaders through its programs and with counseling, mentoring, and coaching. The nonprofit focuses on students from middle school up to high school and beyond, working to help the kids learn their own potential through sports and education.

Emcee David Lucas holds a photo of his late father, Maurice Lucas.

Nike exec Howard White receives the Enforcer Award.

During the event, the foundation awards its annual Maurice Lucas Enforcer Award to the person who does the best at motivating and empowering kids, which were characteristics Maurice Lucas was well known for. This year the award was given to Nike executive Howard White of Portland.

From foundation board chair Todd Hanchett:

“Throughout his long career, Howard has always shared his knowledge and experience with others to enrich the lives of children and those around him. He has focused on being a positive role model to children around the world through his Believe to Achieve programs. Howard exemplifies the spirit of the Maurice Lucas Enforcer Award.”

From David Lucas:

“We created the Maurice Lucas Foundation in 2010 to honor my dad’s memory and continue his legacy of helping children in the Portland area. Now, after 10 years, we can proudly say we’ve used tutoring, character development, mentoring, sports and partnership to help 2,238 students and their families and another 4,320 youths through basketball camps and teams. We are committed to serving even more in the years to come.”

A replay of the gala can be found here.

New Avenues For Youth Shifts Towards Remote Model and Holds First Virtual Fundraiser

New Avenues For Youth Shifts Towards Remote Model and Holds First Virtual Fundraiser

Portland, OR. New Avenues for Youth celebrated its annual Brews for Youths festival, but for the first time in its history, this fundraiser was held virtually. The benefit on July 25th, is one of many that have moved to an online platform due to COVID-19 pandemic. New Avenues for Youth has seen a tremendous shift towards technology to provide goods and services for at-risk and impacted youth in Portland. With a decrease in physical presence and an increase in a virtual presence, New Avenues for Youth has had to shift its approach. 

“[This shift] is beneficial in the long run because we will have new tools and systems online,” says Lauren Eads, Director of Development and Communications. With an increase in online tools, New Avenues for Youth can continue to provide counseling and services to help at-risk youth in Portland while remaining safe.

An image from the educational program which is going live with virtual learning on August 24th.

However, one aspect that technology cannot provide is the face to face physical interaction that people need. “Community is important for them, a network of safe adults, that’s a lot of what the employers are. Case managers and problem solvers that can help,” Eads explained. 

Helping nearly 1,400 individuals a year, New Avenues for Youth has served as a safe space for youth in Portland struggling with homelessness. By focusing on both intervention and preventative care, the nonprofit offers educational and employment programs, as well as counseling. Drop-in services including showers and meals, housing/residential services, and works with foster care systems with Portland to help those who are experiencing trauma or emotional and mental challenges that do not work well with foster care.

An image from the SMYRC program that serves young people who identify as LGBTQ+ with supportive services and a safe space.

Moving forward under the pandemic, New Avenues for Youth has decided to also hold its 19th annual Steve Allen Comedy show virtually. The comedy show has been a foundational pillar helping to fund the work of New Avenues for Youth. “With COVID-19 disrupting that [fundraising] pattern, we have an increased need for folks to make contributions so we are able to continue supporting young people experiencing or are at risk for homelessness,” Eads explained. 

Tickets for the Annual Steve Allen Comedy Show can be found online.

New Avenues For Youth Front.

New Avenues for Youth is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention and intervention of youth homelessness. Here’s a video about the nonprofit:

Since 1997, our programs and services have impacted more than 20,000 young people as they work to overcome barriers, pursue their goals, and realize their potential. From supporting basic needs like meals and counseling to providing opportunities for education, job training, employment, and housing, we meet youth where they are—and help them get where they want to go.

Union Gospel Mission Goes Mobile for Upcoming Operation Overcoat

Union Gospel Mission Goes Mobile for Upcoming Operation Overcoat

Portland, OR. This year the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) will move its annual event – Operation Overcoat – “from one big downtown event, to distributing winter gear and meals all over the city in partnership with other non-profits and local churches,” according to Communications Manager Courtney Dodds.

Family receiving a meal together at Operation Overcoat

As new restrictions and safety challenges due to COVID-19 mean no large crowds this year, UGM’s team brainstormed a way to reinvent Operation Overcoat to get vital supplies to those in need. In several city-wide mini functions beginning Saturday, September 19th, the organization will be partnering with local churches, schools, and workplaces to gather and deliver backpacks filled with shoes, coats, pants, and other items.

This year UGM will reinvent Operation Overcoat to allow for safety measures against COVID-19

“In other words, Operation Overcoat is going mobile,” explained Courtney. “Winter weather can be dangerous and even life-threatening for our neighbors who are houseless and living outside. Due to the pandemic, more people than ever are financially on the edge and sadly it is projected that even more people will fall into homelessness.”

“Receiving vital life essentials is often the first step to building a relationship and helping someone find a path off the streets. Operation Overcoat not only provides for basic needs but is a point of personal connection.”

This year’s unique conditions pose greater challenges for those experiencing homelessness than previous years

For over 20 years, the downtown-situated block party drew nearly a thousand attendees with live music, free food, and festivities as volunteers distributed thousands of donated clothing items to neighbors experiencing homelessness or need in the community.

Courtney notes that the event “will look different this year, but our commitment to coming alongside those in need remains the same.”

Here are some ways you or your local organization can get involved this year:

  1. Organize a donation drive at your church, workplace or school. Our most needed items include pants, new undergarments, sleeping bags, boots, and coats. Drop your items off at Union Gospel Mission at 3 NW Third Avenue.
  2. Support Operation Overcoat financially. It costs about $23.53 to serve each person through Operation Overcoat. Consider a special financial gift for Operation Overcoat. You can give online at

Your Gift of $23.53 provides an Operation Overcoat guest with goods and services that would cost them over $200 in a retail environment.

From the website:

Union Gospel Mission was founded in 1927, when 40 area churches came together seeking to minister to the homeless and hurting on the streets of Portland. In 1937, Union Gospel Mission purchased a building at 15 NW Third Ave.