For over 800 families each month, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon’s Northeast Emergency Food Program (NEFP) is a neighbor to those in need.
As Portland’s housing crisis continues to worsen and social security becomes increasingly inadequate, more and more families need to turn to places like NEFP. We strive to offer more than just free groceries and clothing to the families we serve. We provide community, job resources, access to gardening materials, community dinners, and more. We offer nourishment in the form of a welcoming space and full basket of food.
Many of the families and individuals we serve only need to come once or twice, in urgent and often devastating emergencies. Others have been coming for years, like clockwork, struggling with a social emergency of disparity, inequality and a perpetual lack of resources. This is where NEFP comes in, helping people from falling through the cracks.
Watch this video to learn more about NEFP, made by our friends at Cinema Set Free
Who We Are
Northeast Emergency Food Program meets the urgent food and clothing needs of our Portland metro area neighbors, primarily people living in east Portland, many of whom live east of 82nd Ave. However, unlike many other food pantries in the region, we do not have a geographic boundary—meaning, people come to us from across the tri-county region of northwest Oregon, as well as southwest Washington. We are also able to help those who are experiencing houselessness and those who are undocumented. Further, we are open on Saturdays, which allows us to serve families who work during the week.
In addition to meeting the urgent needs of these neighbors, NEFP also works to develop community solutions to secure access to adequate, affordable and healthy food. We ground our work in the belief that nutritious food is a basic human need and a building block for a healthy life of possibility.
NEFP is a vital part of the community ministry network of the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.
We primarily serve:
>> Families with children; over 40 percent of our recipients are children.
>> The unemployed and the underemployed.
>> People with special needs, including the disabled and the elderly.
>> A high percentage of Immigrants and refugees.
>> People experiencing crisis.
In accordance with federal law and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.
We provide emergency and urgent care:
>> Three- to five-day (or more) supply of nutritious groceries (up to three times in a six-month period).
>> More than a “food box,” our offering is an overflowing shopping cart full of groceries, frequently valued at $200 or more.
>> Fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, bread and meat.
>> Gently used clothing for the whole family.
>> Weekly distribution of food—primarily fresh produce, grains and proteins—to the Sacajawea Head Start with our mobile pantry.
>> Distribution of food to other EMO programs, including those using HIV Services, Sponsor Organized to Assist Refugees, and Russian Oregon Social Services.
>> Through our Service Learners Initiative, we provide job training, skill building and exposure to nonprofit services to 15 to 20 people every year. We work with everyone from graduate school interns to developmentally disabled adults. Our graduates of the program have gone on to find employment in food services, social work and retail management.
We are open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. As long as you arrive before 4 p.m., we will help you. If you would like to use our services, please bring something with your name on it, such as an ID or a piece of mail. We would also like to see a similar document for the rest of your household. For children, you can bring insurance information, something from the school, or another document. No one is turned away for lack of ID. Please come prepared to wait. If you are not coming in vehicle, please bring extra bags, a cart or a large suitcase to get your food home.
Sacajawea Mobile Food Pantry—Our host church, Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, has a longstanding relationship with our immediate neighbor, Sacajawea Head Start. With Luther Memorial volunteer and financial support, NEFP has for years offered the 170 families at Sacajawea supplemental food offerings once a week. This type of “backpack program” included staple foods like tuna fish and mac-and-cheese and the occasional fresh food.
However, in recent years, the families coming to receive this food dwindled down to about four or five a week, and the program did not really seem to meet their needs. Therefore, during the 2015-16 school year, NEFP launched the Sacajawea Mobile Food Pantry. For this program, we instead bring the food directly to the families at Sacajawea. We made sure that we heard their feedback, so we include primarily fresh foods, breads, dairy and the same tuna and pasta staples as before. We now serve 40 or 50 families every week, which is a 1,000 percent increase in service! Thanks to New Seasons Market, we have reusable bags the families can bring every week to gather their groceries.
Our dignified and equitable service is a reflection of a whole network of committed volunteers. As a neighborhood food resource, NEFP relies heavily on the regular support and involvement of churches, individuals, local businesses and foundation grants. Your generosity helps us to continue meeting the needs of over 800 families each month.
To help NEFP meet the sharply increased demand for our services, we are looking for 30 new sustaining partners: individuals and families who will commit $5 to $200 a month on an ongoing basis. Sustaining Partners keep us serving year in and year out. Donate now.
We would like to specifically thank some of our biggest congregational supporters:
Luther Memorial Lutheran Church
St. Luke Lutheran Church
Fremont United Methodist Church
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Augustana Lutheran Church
St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church
Central Lutheran Church
Rose City Park United Methodist Church
Ainsworth United Church of Christ