Potluck In The Park – Feeding Portland Homeless since 1991
Potluck has been serving a free hot meal to anyone in need since 1991. Rain or shine, 52 weeks a year, we are feeding Portland homeless, every Sunday, in our temporary Winter Location under the Hawthorne Bridge. Four hundred to six hundred Portlanders do not go hungry on Sunday because of Potluck in the Park. The generosity of volunteers and donations from people like you that our Potluck community continues to provide for those in need.
Since 1991 Potluck in the Park has been a volunteer driven, grass roots, tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We operate with no paid staff or office location. Our entire budget has gone directly to the people who need it. People who otherwise might not receive a meal. We have accomplished our mission of providing nutritious food and an atmosphere of community to anyone in need because of you and others like you.
Holidays are a special time for families. Each Christmas Day, our Potluck in the Park family serves a full dinner with turkey and all the trimmings to 1000+. Local musicians, including Tom Grant, play for our guests. Cell phones are provided so contact can be made with family and friends. Stockings with goodies are handed out. Santa is there for pictures to help create that feeling of holiday and family for all of our guests.
Did you know?
- Potluck in the Park has served a meal every Sunday for 1262 consecutive weeks (as of 10/6/2019)
- Next year (2020) will be Potluck’s 29th Anniversary.
- We serve a free HOT Meal to anyone in need every Sunday when many agencies are closed
- Potluck not only serves humans but pets too. We hand out dog and cat food every Sunday as well. Food donated by Pongo
- Potluck has a special Christmas dinner that started at the YWCA and is now served at the Portland Art Museum. We also have a strawberry shortcake Sunday in the summertime.
- We are an all volunteer organization. Without our volunteers in the kitchen, we wouldn’t be about to prepare the meals to serve each week. And, without our volunteers at the park, we would not be able to serve all of the people that come to the park every Sunday.
- Potluck serves anywhere from 350 to over 800 people every Sunday
We are an ALL VOLUNTEER run organization with no paid staff
- Our annual operating budget of 100,000 dollars provides nearly 1 million dollars in services feeding those less fortunate
- We have no formal funding- our monies are collected from personal & corporate giving, trusts, foundations, grants and our annual fundraiser held in the fall
- Our organization operates a commercial production kitchen to prepare, clean & store food products
- We received our 501c(3) status in 1998 our Tax ID # is 93-1212531
- This year will be our 26th Christmas meal
- Served for 20 years in the YWCA gym, except for two years during their renovation when we were at the Crystal Ballroom
- Served our first dinner in the Portland Art Museum 2014
- 1235 – Average Christmas guest for the past four years. High/1300
- 2018 – 1120 Guests
- Over 200 volunteers help Christmas Eve / Christmas Day.
- 16,760 – Guests served through 9/30/2019
- 430 – Average number of attendees each week, per meal
- Started in mid-August of 1991 by Sharon and Shelley Darcy who lived near the South Park Blocks and took food down to share at Shemanski Park (the northern most Park Block). They fed about 15 people, including Mario, who is still a volunteer today. they told everyone they would be back the next Sunday…and the rest is history. We haven’t missed a single Sunday since.
- 1992 – Christ Church Parrish Episcopal began cooking casseroles for us with leftovers donated by Western Culinary Institute. CCP is still with us.
- 1994 – Served first Christmas Dinner at the YWCA. Christmas was on a Sunday that year. (Organizers didn’t want to serve Christmas Dinner out in the cold, another tradition was born)
- 1996 – Incorporated with the State of Oregon as a non-profit
- 1998 – Received 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status
- Moved by the City of Portland from O’Bryant Square to the Hawthorne Bridge from January-April of 2018, and again from November-December of 2018.
- Currently serving in the North Park Blocks, 8th Ave and Park Ave on NW Glisan,
- Park Supplies – $6419.36 (Serving utensils, food wrap, paper products, latex gloves)
- Utilities for the kitchen – $7500.00
- Gas for the Potluck Van – $3128.75
- Auto Insurance – $4400.00
- Repairs and maintenance of the kitchen – $2857.80
- Pan liners for cooking and serving – $738.42
- Postage for Potluck mailings – $719.13
Potluck in the Park needs dollars to carry out our mission of feeding Portland homeless. While much of our food is donated, additional items must be purchased. Other operating expenses include funds for dishes and utensils, serving equipment, maintenance, gas and insurance for the Potluck truck, cleaning supplies, printing and postage.