0418 hunger lift urban portland tkrcr1

It’s a small organization with a hyperlocal focus. But Lift Urban Portland—whose mission is to reduce hunger for low-income residents of downtown and Northwest—has a big impact on those it serves. Last year, its two core programs distributed some 250,000 pounds of food, all to local residents, mostly older citizens.

A food pantry operates three days a week in Northwest Portland, stocked largely from the Oregon Food Bank, Amazon Prime Now, and Trader Joe’s. “It’s a shopping-style pantry,” says Lift Urban Portland executive director Erin Goldwater. “People come, choose their own food, and it’s geared towards residents in this neighborhood.”

Lift Urban’s newest initiative is called Adopt-a-Building, and offers local businesses a chance to support their neighbors in need. The program provides an emergency food closet at a building with low-income housing and monthly food box deliveries to residents who can’t travel to their nearest pantry. Last year more than 1,600 food boxes were delivered as part of the initiative. Lift Urban’s three staff members and team of more than 130 volunteers currently oversee the 20 buildings already adopted, as well as several more in process. “Our overall goal is for most of the apartment buildings [in our neighborhood] that house low-income residents to have access to our Adopt-a-Building program,” says Goldwater. That could mean up to 50 buildings in total, more than double the current roster.

What you can do: Donate money, or sign up to volunteer through lifturbanportland.org. The organization is also in search of more gleaning partners to help stock the pantries and boxes, and more local businesses to sign up for adoptions.

Portland Monthly examines hunger in Oregon in our March, April, and May issues. Want to help local organizations feed Portlanders? Go here.

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