Once you understand the situation in Oregon today, Urban Gleaners’ simple approach makes so much sense.
Oregon is one of the hungriest states in the nation. In 2022, 1 in 4 children don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The only food available to many children in Portland is government-subsidized breakfast and lunch—sometimes dinner is a bag of chips, or nothing at all.
Every year, American consumers, businesses, and farms spends $218 billion a year, or 1.3% of GDP, growing, processing, transporting, and disposing food that is never eaten. That’s 52 million tons of food sent to landfill annually, plus another 10 million tons that is discarded or left unharvested on farms. Meanwhile, one in seven Americans is food insecure. Despite rescuing over a million pounds of food each year, we are almost a zero waste organization, with any and all food that may not be fit for human consumption going to four local pig farmers.
There is so much great, healthy food in our community! With your support and a little work, we can feed hungry families and make the whole community healthier. Here is what we are doing right now to help solve these issues.
Urban Gleaners distributes thousands of pounds of free food directly to kids and their families year-round. We provide local schools with onsite deliveries of fresh produce, dairy products, whole-grain breads, ready-to-eat meals, and treats,because all children deserve wholesome nutrition and some fun food to brighten their days. The food we deliver is healthy, nutrient rich, and fundamental to a growing child’s health and wellness.
Our Mobile Markets are open to families who need food, no questions asked. Mobile Market sites are located in apartment complexes, community centers, and health facilities throughout the Portland area. These sites provide free, fresh food to families who are unable to regularly access our school pantries or are living in food deserts in Multnomah or Washington County.
Summer Free Farmers Markets
The summer months can be an especially vulnerable time for families living with food insecurity. Portland Parks & Rec hosts free lunches for local school children at public parks. As a proud partner, we fully stock an outdoor pantry where families can access free fresh food to take home. These sites supplement the year-round support that we provide to our school partners, and help reach more children and their families.
We team up with other non-profit agencies to get food to Portlanders in need throughout our community. These unique partnerships provide an opportunity for local families to engage in community support activities, while also ensuring that they are well fed. From community dinners to snacks at parent-training workshops, we believe that great food and a supportive community makes everything better.