Ways to Help the Homeless in Portland

7 Ways You Can Help People Experiencing Homelessness

There are many people in immediate need of food, clothing, access to hygiene, shelter, community, and hope. Nonprofits like Blanchet House of Hospitality are serving more people during the pandemic and need your support to continue. Here are the best ways to help: 

1. Volunteer

Compassionate individuals age 14 and older are needed to help prepare food, serve meals and drinks, organize clothing, and more. We also need guest chefs with food handlers licenses. There are many shifts to choose from Mon-Sat. Serve safely from our doors. Vaccinations are required to serve on-site at Blanchet House of Hospitality. If you’re not in the Portland area check in with your local charity kitchen.

You will complete training and sign-up online. Sign up to volunteer.

2. Make Care Kits

We give out care kits containing basic survival items like clean socks, nail clippers, band-aids, rain ponchos, and snacks during our meal services. These are very popular and so appreciated. Make them from home! You can make care kits for people experiencing homelessness wherever you live!

Get care kit instructions.

3. Make Sack Lunches

Blanchet House gives out sack lunches on Saturday afternoons and in between hot meal services. Making sack lunches at home is a fun and meaningful way to help with your family or friends. You can make as few as 10 or as many as 200 sack lunches containing a sandwich, piece of fruit, and wrapped snack. Choose a date from our online calendar to drop off your lunches. If you’re not in the Portland area check in with your local charity kitchen about donating sack lunches.

Sign up to make sack lunches.

Sara Edmond offers a warm coat to a homeless man outside Blanchet House.

4. Donate Clothing and Sleeping Essentials

Our guests need adult-sized clothing that is appropriate for being outdoors in the cold and rain. Please donate clothing that respects the dignity of the individual by not donating dirty or damaged items. We do not accept children’s clothing, business suits, housewares, linens/pillows/towels (except for warm blankets), or books. Clothing can be dropped off Mon-Sat, at 310 NW Glisan St. from 8-10:30 a.m. or 1:30-4 p.m. Please avoid dropping off during meal services. You can also call us at 503-241-4340 or email info@blanchethouse.org. If you’re not in the Portland area check with local charities about donating clothing.

Shop Our Amazon Wish List

We are most in need of the following adult-sized items:

  • New or gently used socks. (No holes.)
  • New or gently used t-shirts. (No holes or stains.)
  • Men’s new or gently used underwear. All sizes (boxer briefs preferred.)
  • Women’s underwear. All sizes.
  • Men’s jeans. Sizes 30 – 36
  • Men’s shoes. Sizes 10 – 12
  • Sweatpants. All sizes.
  • Raincoats or ponchos.
  • Blankets.
  • Sleeping bags.
  • Tents.
  • Backpacks.

Please note: We do not accept children’s clothing, business suits, housewares, linens/pillows/towels (except for warm blankets), or books.


5. Donate Water Bottles

Help people without access to water stay hydrated. You can donate new or gently used reusable water bottles. Blanchet House staff will sanitize, fill with clean water, and distribute to people throughout the day. You can also purchase water bottles and misters from our Amazon wish list. Information about Blanchet House’s heat relief services and a list of Portland cooling centers.

6. Donate Food

We accept donations of large quantities of fresh and unexpired food. Learn how we are helping to feed those in need while protecting our environment from needless waste. Do you have questions about food donation liability?

  • Yes, we can accept home-baked goods like cookies!
  • Most fruits, vegetables, meats, dry goods, and spices are needed in bulk.
  • We cannot accept partially eaten or served food. Catered trays must be unopened.

Commercial pickups should be arranged by calling 503-241-4340. We cannot pick up from homes.

7. Donate or Collect Money

(All ages)

We rely on individual donors like you to operate our services. Your financial support is critical to our doors stay open to people in desperate need. You can also start a Facebook fundraiser to encourage your friends and family to support our services.

Our Philosophy

“How we walk with the broken speaks louder than how we sit with the great.”

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