By Rachel Richards | CNA Media Team
The Northeast Emergency Food Program (NEFP) provides not just food to those in need. It also has a clothing closet which provides free clothing to men, women and children, and it distributes nearly 50,000 items of clothing annually.
Other donations – bedding, kitchen items and toys – are also distributed quickly to those in need. There’s no space for furniture donations.
NEFP is recognized as one of the first Model Healthy Pantries in the state, and empowers those in need, through a shopping-style experience, to choose what they need, from both the clothing closet and the food pantry.
Serving 800 families per month, NEFP can provide four items of clothing per person per visit and 25 to 30 pounds of food up to three times in a six-month period.
There are no residential restrictions, and visitors to the pantry can provide proof of household members who aren’t present to obtain items the others need.
According to Travis Niemann, program manager, a fear currently exists across Portland that – because of the requirement to enter names into Oregon Food Bank’s Link to Feed database – undocumented immigrants are not accessing needed services.
“Our goal is to feed you, not to report you” he said. “Most of the families we serve have someone who is working,” he added. “They have resources, just not enough.”
NEFP program assistant Cecilia Estraviz said donated children’s costumes were set aside until Halloween season, to the delight of children.
Currently in the clothing closet sorting room, a few bins of toys are awaiting the holiday season, but a noticeable lack of men’s clothing exists. NEFP is currently in need of men’s job interview clothes and men’s work wear, as well as all types of winter clothing, rain gear and socks.
NEFP serves working families, seniors, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, people experiencing homelessness and you, if you need it.
Located at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, 4800 N.E. 72nd Ave., NEFP is part of the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and a partner agency of the Oregon Food Bank. It’s open 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Donations are also accepted during these hours and NEFP is always open to new volunteers.
Donations will be accepted at the Concordia Neighborhood Association Holiday Party. Needs include rice, soup, proteins, personal hygiene items, pet food, winter clothing and work clothing.
Monetary donations are also welcome, and NEFP is participating in the Willamette Week’s 2017 Give!Guide. To donate, visit GiveGuide.org/#neemergencyfoodprogram.
Rachel is a 16-year Concordia resident who loves her community. She has a background in counseling/education and uses her passion for helping others in her work as a real estate broker. Contact Rachel or learn more about her at RachelRichardsRealtor.com.