By Alicia Polacok from Resourceful PDX partner, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
Founded in 1988, St Johns Food Share is a member-owned, volunteer-powered food sharing community. Formerly known as Golden Harvesters, St Johns Food Share has a mission to empower Portland residents by providing food options, preserving dignity and promoting self-sufficiency. Each year, the food share distributes over 300,000 pounds of food to local families.
New name draws new members
When Golden Harvesters became St Johns Food Share, the name change and rebranding prompted a big increase in members – they more than doubled membership just through word of mouth!
Members are volunteers
Food Share membership is open to all residents. In exchange for a minimum of eight donated volunteer hours and $30 monthly dues per household, you can shop twice a week in the store at no additional charge. The monthly fee helps pay for the store space, electricity and utilities.
Volunteers are crucial to the operation of the Food Share. It was a volunteer who brought the organization into the 21st century too – with software and computerization that hadn’t existed before. Paying membership fees are coming online soon too.
One new member, Lynda, drives from St Helens to visit the store and volunteer on Fridays as a store lead. This volunteer position includes making displays look organized, greeting and assisting first-time shoppers with using the computer and weighing items for check-out.
“Having this option really makes a difference,” said Lynda. She explained that the Food Share “offers a way to stretch my monthly money because social security only goes so far.” She can keep her kitchen stocked with a variety of items – fresh produce, dairy products, protein and staples – while keeping good food out of the waste stream.
Food is donated
You’ll find a well-stocked store offering a variety of foods donated from partner agencies. These include Pacific Coast Fruit, St Johns Community Garden, Fred Meyer, New Seasons, Grocery Outlet and more. St Johns Food Share also works with social service agencies to pass along viable food through their food banks. Some of these programs include Grace Christian Fellowship, Hereford House and Linnton Community Center in North and Northwest Portland.
One Food Share volunteer, Judie, said the organization also works with various farmers who take back the food that isn’t viable for human consumption and use the food scraps to make compost or as pig feed.
Curious about Food Share? If you aren’t sure you want to be a member, you can shop free the first time. Or you can sign up as member right away.
St Johns Food Share is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
Find St Johns Food Share under Donation Center on the Resourceful PDX map.
Resourceful PDX discovered this “new” community resource when a resident used the Add to the Map button on the Resourceful PDX map. Let us know if you have a resource to add!