Volunteer

Meal Provider Program

Providing meals at our shelters is our most popular volunteer activity, and…our most needed!

Volunteers interact directly with program participants and ensure that the residents at our three Short-term Residential Programs and three Emergency Shelters have a wholesome meal. Meal Provider groups typically consist of 5-10 people who have joined together as family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, fellow parishioner, or other types of service groups. Please note that the group leader is required to attend a Volunteer Orientation before the first scheduled date. Here are more details about this opportunity:

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 Housing facilities.
  • Purchasing items to prepare meals can cost about $200. Many Meal Providers reach out to their local stores for in-kind donations or fundraise in their community to offset the cost. The Development Associate can help you with tips for how to do this!  We also have recipes ideas available.
  • Many groups serve regularly, such as the 3rd Tuesday of every month, while others serve quarterly or every six months. We suggest you and your group try one or two dates before committing to the regular service.
  • Meal Providers may prepare the meal off-site or in the facility's kitchen.  Groups may arrive as early as needed to cook the meal or to setup to serve.
  • Youth aged 12-17 may serve in groups a ratio of 1 adult present for every 4 minors. Youth aged 8-12 may serve in groups with a ratio of 1 adult present for every 3 minors. Please understand that minors must be closely monitored by adults in the group and are not allowed to be on their own in the facility.
  • 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 clean up the kitchen after you prep and serve.

At the Hansen Shelter:

  • The group has the option to provide dinner for the 200 men and women at the shelter.
  • Since the shelter has no kitchen facility or refrigeration, the meals must come ready to serve and in disposable containers.
  • On Sundays and holidays, groups have the opportunity to provide and serve a hot dinner at the shelter. The meal must come ready to serve in disposable trays (or reusable trays that the group takes back), and the group must provide disposable plates and utensils for the shelter guests. Dinner will be served at 7pm.
  • Monday through Saturday evenings, groups have the opportunity to provide sack lunch-style meals. These meals must contain wholesome, non-perishable items such as a PB&J sandwich, piece of fruit, granola bar, and bottle of water, and should be in bags so the shelter guests may carry them with them if they are not eaten right away. Meals can be delivered directly to the shelter between 5:00-7:00pm during your scheduled evening.
  • Purchasing items to prepare meals can cost $150-200. Many Meal Providers reach out to their local stores for in-kind donations or raise funds in their community to offset the cost. The Development Associate can help you with tips for how to do this!

At SOS - Safety Off the Streets:

  • The group purchases, prepares, and delivers 70 sack lunch-style meals to the shelter on their scheduled evening for the women staying at the shelter.
  • Since these facilities have no kitchens or refrigeration, the meals must contain wholesome, non-perishable items such as a PB&J sandwich, piece of fruit, granola bar, and bottle of water. The meals should be in bags so the shelter guests may carry them with them if they are not eaten right away.
  • Purchasing items to prepare meals can cost $150-200. Many Meal Providers reach out to their local stores for in-kind donations or raise funds in their community to offset the cost. The Development Associate can help you with tips for how to do this!
  • Meals can be delivered from 6-7pm during your scheduled evening.

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)
  Doreen's Place (665 NW Hoyt St)
  Jean's Place (18 NE 11th Ave)
  The Hansen Shelter (12240 NE Glisan St) - sack meal program or Sunday hot meal
  SOS - Safety Off the Streets (435 NW Glisan St) - sack meal program
  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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