Volunteer

Meal Provider Program

Providing meals at our shelters is our greatest volunteer need.

This is a great team building opportunity and a fun way to get friends together for a good cause. Volunteers serving meals interact directly with program participants, and ensure the residents of our three Short-term Residential Programs and four Low-Barrier Shelters have access to healthy, wholesome meals. Meal Provider groups typically consist of 5-10 people who have joined together as family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or another type of service group. It is mandatory for the leader of your meal provider group to attend a Volunteer Orientation before your first scheduled meal date.

How Meals Work

Dinner at the Clark Center, Doreen's Place, and Jean's Place:
  • The group purchases, prepares, and serves dinner for 60-90 residents at one of our Short-term Residential Shelter facilities.
  • Meal Providers may prepare the meal off-site (bringing food in catering trays) or in the shelter's kitchen. Groups may arrive as early as needed to cook the meal or to setup to serve. 
  • Dinner is served at 7:00pm at Clark Center and Doreen's Place, and 6:30pm at Jean's Place, with most providers arriving by 5:00pm to begin prepping if they are cooking on-site. The program residents will clean up the kitchen after you prep and serve.

Brunch or Dinner at the at The Willamette Center:

  • The group has the option to provide brunch or a hot dinner to the 120 women and couples staying at the Emergency Shelter.
  • Meal Providers may prepare the meal off-site (bringing food in catering trays) or in the shelter's homestyle kitchen. Groups may arrive as early as needed to cook the meal or to setup to serve.
  • Brunch is served between 10:00am and 12:00pm at the Willamette Center, and dinner is served at 6:00pm.

Dinner at the SOS Shelter, the Hansen Shelter, and the Columbia Shelter:

  • The group purchases, prepares, and serves meals for 70-200 residents at one of our Emergency Shelters.
  • Since these facilities have no kitchen spaces, our need for meals tends to be greatest at the Emergency Shelters. All hot meals must be prepared off-site and brought ready to serve, in catering trays or crockpots.
  • We ask that you please provide disposable plates and utensils for the shelter guests along with any hot meals that are served.
  • Dinner can be delivered from 7:00-7:30pm at the Columbia Shelter, and from 6:00pm-7:00pm at the SOS Shelter or Hansen Shelter. Arrangements for an earlier drop off or meal set up time can be made if requested beforehand.  

Sack Lunches at the SOS Shelter, the Hansen Shelter, and the Columbia Shelter:

  • At our shelters without kitchens, groups have the opportunity to provide sack lunch-style meals. These meals must contain wholesome, non-perishable items such as a PB&J sandwich (or two), a piece of fruit, a granola bar, and a bottle of water. These items should be in brown paper bags so the shelter guests may carry them with them if they are not eaten right away. Sugary items must be limited to 1 item per meal.
  • Some shelters can take perishable sandwiches with advanced notice. If you are interested in bringing perishable sack lunches, please mention this when scheduling your meal date.
  • Meals can be delivered directly to the shelter between 12:00pm and 6:00pm during your scheduled evening.

Sign Up to Serve a Meal

To learn more about becoming a Volunteer Meal Provider or to reserve a meal date, please submit the following form:


  The Clark Center (1431 SE MLK Blvd) - hot dinner
  Doreen's Place (665 NW Hoyt St)  - hot dinner
  Jean's Place (18 NE 11th Ave) - hot dinner
  Columbia Shelter (509 SE Grand Ave) - sack meal program or hot meal
  The Hansen Shelter (12240 NE Glisan St) - sack meal program or hot meal
  SOS - Safety Off the Streets (435 NW Glisan St) - sack meal program or hot meal
  Willamette Center (5120 SE Milwaukie Ave) - brunch or hot dinner
  Wherever meals are most needed

  Let's just try one for now
  Weekly
  Monthly
  Every once in a while


  Yes
  No
  Maybe

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