Potluck in the Park is hosting its free, open-to-all Christmas Dinner for the 25th consecutive year, in partnership with the Portland Art Museum. Potluck, which also hosts meals every Sunday under the Hawthorne Bridge, strives to provide reliable and safe community gatherings where anyone can enjoy a free meal.
Their Christmas dinner, Portland’s largest, will be served on Christmas Day at the Portland Art Museum, 1119 SW Park Avenue/Main St. in downtown Portland. The festive dinner welcomes anyone and everyone in need or without friends or family to spend the holiday with. Doors will stay open for three hours, from noon to 3 p.m., to make sure everyone is fed. More than 400 volunteers will help feed and gift more than 1000 guests.
An annual tradition, this event began in 1994 when Potluck’s weekly meal service first fell on Christmas, and they wanted to avoid serving guests a Christmas Day meal outside.
This Christmas guests will dine on a traditional holiday meal, from plates of turkey to trays of desserts, in the Art Museum’s Fred and Suzanne Fields Ballroom for the fifth year in a row, thanks to the Museum’s generous partnership with Potluck.
Dinner will be accompanied by live jazz performed by Tom Grant, Patrick Lamb,George Mitchell and Ramsey Embick. Guests can also receive a photo of themselves with Santa and make free phone calls to loved ones.
Everyone will receive free socks filled with goodies by Cathedral Elementary School students. Caps, gloves and scarves will also be given out. Kennels for guests’ pets will be available during the meal and pet food will be distributed courtesy of the Pongo Fund.
Major contributors to the event include: The Hilton Hotel, DoubleTree Hotel, Peter Corvallis Productions, West Coast Event Productions, Classic Pianos, DeAngelo’s Catering & Events, Peterson Idealease, and the over 200 student elves of Cathedral School who joyfully stuffed more than 1000 pairs of socks.
Potluck in the Park is an all-volunteer non-profit organization in its 28th year of providing nutritious meals to anyone in need EVERY Sunday, rain or shine, in Downtown Portland. They have served meals for 1427 consecutive Sundays since 1991. Currently, they can be found in Waterfront Park underneath the Hawthorne Bridge on Sunday afternoons.
Potluck in the Park’s mission is to nourish and enrich the lives of individuals by reliably providing a free hot meal and a safe community gathering place every Sunday. Potluck volunteers believe in treating everyone with dignity, respect, friendliness and kindness. It goes a long way in helping build self-esteem and a sense of self-worth in many of their guests.
The group began serving Christmas Dinner at the YWCA the first year after they started that Christmas fell on a Sunday in 1994. It became a Christmas Day tradition soon after.
In 2012, Potluck in the Park volunteers were awarded the Oregon Governor’s Volunteer Regional Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement.