Northeast Emergency Food Program at Luther Memorial For over 800 families each month, EMO’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 us. 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.
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 are 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.
Northeast Emergency Food Program is a vital part of the community ministry network of the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. Our food program is a community-based response to the unmet food needs of our neighbors. 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.
Our Services 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. For questions, contact NEFP.
Watch this video on NEFP, made by our friends at Cinema Set Free
Our commitment to nurturing community food security includes:
• In partnership with Kitchen Commons, we host a monthly community dinner where we focus on a popular-education model of community building, share delicious vegetarian dinners, and foster a bilingual English/Spanish community of empowerment and support.
• Work with the Portland Community Gardens Produce for People program, the Portland Fruit Tree Project, neighboring gardens and farms, local plant nurseries (such as Dennis7Dees) and even our own backyard garden to promote, foster, and provide resources for locally grown foods and the act of gardening.
• Educating and empowering community groups and individuals around local food issues.
• Working with EMO’s Public Policy Advocacy, as well as the Oregon Food Bank advocacy team, we use data, personal stories and other voices from NEFP to advocate for legislative change.
• Building community partnerships to ensure a comprehensive safety net for our neighbors in need, with a strong focus on the Cully neighborhood.
• Every other month, we host the Portland Food Project, which collects food from neighbors in their signature green bags and then gathers all the donations for redistribution to a multitude of food pantries.
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 and 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.
There are future plans to bring the Sacajawea Mobile Food Pantry to other sites in the Cully neighborhood. Donate now to help support this expansion! To get involved, contact NEFP.
Our dignified and equitable service is a reflection of a whole network of committed volunteers. As a neighborhood food resource, we rely 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 500 families each month.
To help us 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
The food we distribute is donated by some truly amazing organizations, businesses, churches, civic organizations and individuals.
As an Oregon Food Bank Partner Agency, we receive the vast majority of our food through the OFB Metro location. This food includes purchased, donated and USDA allocated products, both fresh and nonperishable. In recent years, the amount of fresh produce coming from the OFB has exponentially increased as part of a concerted effort to provide better food for healthier families. The Oregon Food Bank is a part of the Feeding America network, and cannot be thanked enough.
The primary businesses that donate to NEFP include, but are not limited to:
Legacy Emmanuel Health
In the warmer seasons we get regular donations from community gardens, neighbors with excess fruit and vegetables, and the Portland Fruit Tree Project as well as our own garden.
We also rely on churches, non-food-industry businesses, schools, community groups, individuals and other organizations to donate on a regular basis. Please let us know if you are interested in donating or sponsoring a food drive. Contact NEFP for more details.
Packaged goods – pasta, mac & cheese, flour, oatmeal, cereals
Frozen goods – meat, vegetables, fruit
Fresh foods – produce (fruits and vegetables), eggs
Dairy products – milk (fresh and powdered), cheese, yogurt
Baked goods – bread, pastries, desserts
Personal care items – diapers, toilet paper, soap, cleaning supplies
Northeast Emergency Food Program depends on over 250 volunteers giving more than 1,000 hours every month to deliver and organize 33 tons of donated food, greet and assist our guests, and stock our shelves and refrigerators for 800 families in need.
Is when all people have consistent access to nutritionally adequate, culturally appropriate and reasonably affordable food at all times through non-emergency sources.
Embraces a systemic approach to the causes of hunger and poor nutrition within the local, national and international communities.
Complements the emergency food system; reliance on charitable food donations is an unfortunate but necessary component of life for low-income families living on the brink of crisis.
Focuses on building resources to increase self reliance, while food banks and community pantries distribute free food to the hungry to meet their immediate needs.
Community food projects are designed to increase food security. Projects attempt to increase the food resource network to include:
Community supported agriculture
Traditional and non-traditional grocers
Co-ops and buying clubs
Food and Faith
Faith-based food programs represent over half of all food-related services providing directly to families in need. Food plays a central role in all faith traditions as a symbol, a place where faith meets the practice of sharing, a means to nurture fellowship and a way to enjoy the goodness of creation. Faith communities have the potential to bring food back to the center of our faith and daily lives and away from the periphery. Clearly, people of faith and congregations directly and greatly impact the lives of our neighbors.
Northeast Emergency Food Program at Luther Memorial is open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Client Services: 1 to 4 p.m.
Volunteers Needed: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and other times for deliveries)
Donations received: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Travis Niemann, Program Manager. Travis started working at EMO’s NEFP in 2013 as the Program Assistant. In 2016, he officially took over as NEFP Program Manager. Originally from the Washington D.C./Maryland metro area, Travis has lived in Oregon for the past eight years. He enjoys gardening, looking after chickens, music and food projects. His favorite vegetable is not technically a vegetable, but still basically used as one: the mushroom.
April Long, Program Assistant. April joined NEFP in the summer of 2015, after working at another EMO program, the HIV Day Center. She has lived in Portland for two-and-half years and has truly made a home here. Being Program Assistant has provided the opportunity to serve some beautiful communities, and she is grateful for all that she has learned in her time at NEFP. At the end of 2016, April will be moving to Berkeley, Calif., with many tears in her eyes and incredible memories in her heart. April loves the beauty of vegetables, and even has a tattoo of one of her favorites, the artichoke.
Location NEFP at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, 4800 NE 72nd Ave., Portland (at Wygant between Prescott and Killingsworth). View map. Open to clients from 1 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Accessible by Trimet bus lines 71 and 72.