UPDATED: July 6, 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this new best practice model prioritizes the public health of our community and re-imagines the way Preble Street delivers essential services. Due to the public health risk of coronavirus spreading when large numbers of people gather, we are no longer able to provide meals at the Soup Kitchen door. Saturday, July 11 is the last day prepared meals will be given out at 252 Oxford Street. There will be no breakfast, lunch or dinner given out at the Soup Kitchen door after this date.
As of Monday, July 13, 2020:
- The Resource Center Soup Kitchen & Dining Room is a permanent food production and distribution facility — prepared meals are no longer served or handed out from our 252 Oxford St location.
- Everyone staying in shelters will be able to get three meals 365 days/year at their shelter. That includes Oxford Street Shelter, Milestone Shelter, the Expo Shelter, Florence House Shelter, and the Preble Street Teen Services. Preble Street will provide 3 meals each day for people at the Shelter where they are staying.
- If a person is experiencing homelessness and unable to stay at one of the shelters, they can access meals twice a day from Preble Street’s new Street Outreach Collaborative — outreach services and 2 meals every day on a mobile basis to small groups at various stops around Portland where clients spend time or have appointments. Starting Monday, July 13, morning meals will be distributed between 9-10 am and afternoon meals will be distributed between 3:30-4:30 pm with services all day helping connect people with shelter, housing, health services, ID’s, clothing, and other things to help them work toward goals.
- If a person is staying at a shelter or a GA motel, they will not be given meals from the Street Outreach Collaborative.
- Food boxes/groceries are still available to pick up at 252 Oxford St Tuesday-Saturday from 1:30-4pm. Everyone who has a place to stay can use the Food Pantry to take food back to their home or where they are staying. We also have food for people who are staying in places with limited cooking ability.
Note: these changes DO NOT impact the Florence House and Teen Center soup kitchen
Volunteering at Preble Street Food Programs involves a lot of scrubbing, chopping, and cooking, but the heart of the work reaches beyond the day to day of a kitchen. Volunteers bring kindness, insight, dedication, and compassion — and lots of puns and wit in the case of Volunteer of the Month Megan Ladd.
“The conversation never fades when she’s here,” says kitchen staff at Florence House.
When a tenant is having a tough day, Megan’s grace and humor put everyone at ease. She is a calm, consistent presence and can talk to anyone about anything. Megan makes the people around her feel seen, listened to, and understood.
“It’s an incredible gift to someone who has been homeless and felt invisible to the world,” remark staff.
Megan, thank you for offering your time, humor, and compassion to the people we serve.
Many residents at Glenwood Sober House volunteer at the weekly Preble Street food pantry, working as a team to move thousands of pounds of donated food into the dining room and help feed over 100 families each week.
“We really couldn’t do pantry without them,” say Preble Street staff. “Part of their recovery journey is giving back to the community, and we’re grateful they choose to spend so much time here.”
One such hardworking, dedicated Glenwood volunteer is Volunteer of the Month Brett, who frequently arrives early, leaves late, and brings friends for several soup kitchen shifts throughout the week in addition to Thursday pantry.
“Brett always has an amazing attitude. He does the work of two or three volunteers, and makes the whole shift so easy for us,” say staff.
Brett recently brought his parents to volunteer and as staff sang his praises his parents teared up, saying, “This place is pretty important to him — and we’re so grateful to have our son back.”
Thank you Brett and Glenwood Sober House for going above and beyond!
Thanks to thousands of incredible volunteers who join us at three Preble Street Soup Kitchens, we served 630,000 meals to our neighbors in need over the last year! In 47,389 volunteer hours, those helping hands:
Chopped 36,400 potatoes
Diced 18,200 onions
Boiled 3,640 gallons of water for pasta and rice
Fried 44,925 eggs
Grilled 50,000 pancakes
Sliced 40,000 loaves of bread
Washed 980,000 pieces of silverware
And everyone got fed.
New and existing volunteers can sign up for shifts right online!
Homelessness is traumatic, and the people we serve often experience uncertainty and distress. When Preble Street Volunteer of the Month Ruth is in the Florence House kitchen, she greets each guest with a smile and reassures everyone that they are in a safe, welcoming place.
She recently shared a story that reminds us of the power of showing up for people in need.
“After work, I stopped in a store and took out my re-useable shopping bag which has a Preble Street logo. The cashier noticed and asked, ‘Do you volunteer there?’
‘Yes, at Florence House,’ I replied.
She smiled and said, ‘I stayed there for a while. So, thank you.’
I am so glad to be part of the Preble Street volunteer force. We do make a difference.”
Ruth, you are so right. You do make a difference. Thank you for reminding us that the simple gift of being present can change a life.
We’re humbled by the incredible passion, kindness, and work ethic that volunteers bring to the Preble Street Teen Center Soup Kitchen!
People like Moe, the September Volunteer of the Month, do more than just fill bellies. They remind young people that there are adults who want the best for them and will show up for them.
For over three years, Moe has been volunteering weekly at the Teen Center, preparing and serving dinner for youth in Portland. She frequently helps train new volunteers, fills in for last minute needs, and often joins us for holidays.
Moe is vivacious, kind, and a ton of fun. Whether it’s extra frosting on a big piece of cake or a bit of cheese to sauce up the veggies, Moe knows just what youth need.
“She taught me how to tie a double knot to fix a client’s ripped backpack,” recalls a caseworker. Another chimed in, “Youth ask about her when she’s not here.”
Thank you, Moe — and all volunteers — for your generosity and all that you bring to Preble Street!
For many years, Preble Street has been helping to feed asylees seeking shelter in Portland. While the Expo location is now closed, we are continuing to work together with volunteers to make meals for our new neighbors. As always, we are closely monitoring the situation and will make every effort to support those in need in our community.
This month, we are excited to highlight a volunteer who loves to dig in and get her hands dirty. The July Volunteer of the Month, Virginia Eddy, is in her happy place when she is elbows-deep in dishes.
Every shift she works, she settles in at the dish pit, gives a big joyful sigh of contentment, and says: “I can’t think of a place I would rather be right now. I really mean it!” And she does.
Virginia is a master of strategy, an essential part of keeping up with dishes in a busy kitchen, and does it all while greeting every client and caseworker with kindness as they hand over their plate, eager to hear about their day and their meal.
One of her best qualities is her ability to greet even the toughest situations with an unflappable get-it-done mentality. Florence House Kitchen Operating Assistant Philippa remembers a day when “Virginia showed up early, a bright smile on her face, to find me, the floor, and the wall covered in tomato sauce. She held in her laughter, told me everything was going to be okay, and asked how she could help. She got the job done and we pulled together a great dinner.”
Virginia makes every meal even better by keeping things in top working order and filling the kitchen with a graceful ease. She embodies the Food Programs value that these kitchens are “welcoming places where all are treated with respect and empathy.”
Thank you, Virginia, for tackling the dirtiest dishes, the hardest days, and the difficult work of ending homelessness and food insecurity with your wonderfully positive spirit and pure, respectful warmth.
Preble Street serves 1,200 meals every day at three soup kitchens, and in addition we’re providing 600 extra meals daily to our new neighbors from around the world. Watch this video to learn more and see the work in action!