Portland, OR. Recognized throughout the Pacific Northwest as one of the “Largest Holiday Light Shows West of the Mississippi,” the 29th annual Safeway Winter Wonderland features colorful light displays around every corner.
Saturday nights are busy and the display sold out on December 18th. Primetime hours can involve a 50+ minute wait.
Since 1993, over two million visitors have journeyed through Winter Wonderland as a festive tradition to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season with families, friends, and social organizations.
Spectators enjoy the drive-through light show from the comfort of their own vehicles, viewing over 250 colorful light set pieces and many fully animated scenes along the way.
All proceeds from the event benefit Sunshine Division‘s year-round hunger relief efforts that provide thousands of free, nutritious meals to Portland families in need. The Sunshine Division offers free food and clothing assistance for qualifying Portlanders at an on-site food pantry and clothing rooms and through food box programs and a no-cost food bank.
Sunshine Division administrators explain, “We offer food assistance six days a week at our N Thompson location, five days a week at our SE Stark location, as well as 24/7 through our partnership with the Portland Police Bureau who store food boxes at each police precinct that can be dispatched to people in need at any time. In addition to food relief, we also offer new and gently used clothing.”
Here’s a promotional video about the light display:
Portland International Raceway 1940 N Victory Blvd Portland, OR 97217
Best Times To See The Show
Beat the rush and enjoy the light show at your own pace! Weekends are always popular times, as is the week of Christmas. To avoid the crowds, plan on attending the Safeway Winter Wonderland, powered by Advantis Credit Union, in early December, or during weeknights.
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 PortlandSocietyPage.com 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.
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.
Portland, OR. Volunteers at the Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division packed 1,600 boxes of food to help needy people celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Over the course of 94 years, this program has allowed thousands upon thousands of families and individuals in the Portland-metro area to have a holiday meal and a sense of stability during difficult times in their lives.
The Sunshine Division shared one story exemplifying how one small act of kindness can illuminate a period of darkness and change the course of someone’s life.
Here is William’s story:
“Last year I received a holiday food box from you guys. I had just gotten off the streets and placed into my new apartment. Life seemed good from anyone looking in from out, but I was very depressed. Not only had I lost my grandmother that summer but I decided to change my life which included the friends I had.
I had no one to spend the holidays with.
I remember my housing specialist from Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare helping me sign up for the food box but I totally forgot about it. I started feeling more depressed and I actually started to want to end my life. Sad but very true. I was telling myself something has to give.
I got a knock on my door, and it was volunteers with my food box… I’ll never forget the feeling.
I had lost everything. No family or friends for the holidays and the Sunshine Division became my family. I may not have been able to enjoy it with you all but just knowing so many people cared. I truly needed the food but more then that I needed to know someone cared.
Thats my story you can edit it or use it, but please try to share it because what you all do, it’s important. You truly bring joy into peoples lives.” – William
There is another opportunity to help. Here’s information about the efforts for Christmas:
With the help of hundreds of volunteers, the Sunshine Division will pack and deliver 3,500 Holiday Food Boxes this December. RSVPs are required to participate in pack nights and delivery day.
2016 Pack Nights:
Monday, December 12, 6p – 8p
Wednesday, December 14, 6p – 8p
2016 Delivery Day:
Saturday, December 17th, 9a – 1pm
Scheduling for holiday volunteerism begins in October. Email mailto:[email protected] to provide support at SE precinct, East precinct, North precinct and Sunshine Division.
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