Feeding a family is hard work, especially during the holiday months when other expenses tend to rise. Unfortunately, struggling to put food on the table or make ends meet is an all too familiar struggle for a lot of families in Lane County.  Whether you are in need of food assistance, need to stretch your food budget a little bit further, or are interested in helping out your community by volunteering for one of these programs, this list of food resources below may come in handy for you and your family.

1. Produce Plus, Food For Lane County

Produce Plus brings high quality fresh fruits and vegetables to people in need at community and neighborhood locations. The produce is provided free of charge. To visit their website click here.

Who qualifies:

  • Households in Lane County living at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level can qualify for the program. This is a higher income requirement than for a pantry food box (which is 185% FPL) in recognition that people of all income brackets can struggle with food insecurity.
  • There is no program enrollment; all who come can be served, as long as they sign the self-declaration statement that they meet the income requirement.

Locations

  • DHS Springfield (101 30th Street, Springfield)
    Produce is dropped off on Mondays and is available on a first come, first served basis.
  • DHS McKenzie Center (2885 Chad Drive, Eugene)
    Produce is dropped off on Mondays and is available on a first come, first served basis.
  • DHS West Eugene (2101 W. 11th Avenue, Eugene)
    Produce is dropped off on Mondays and is available on a first come, first served basis.
  • Bethel’s Cascade Middle School (1525 Echo Hollow Road, Eugene)
    Has a PP program every Monday afternoon (as of September 8) from 2:30 to 6 p.m.

 How to volunteer or donate

Food for Lane County is always in need of volunteers and food donations for their many food programs. To get connected and find out more, visit their website here.

2. The Dining Room Restaurant, Food For Lane County

Looking for a free meal out? Try The Dining Room Restaurant! Here, a server will take your order and wait on you like any other restaurant. Meals include a meat or vegetarian entrée, a potato or rice dish, vegetables, salad, dessert, and a beverage. To visit their website click here.

Who can eat at The Dining Room

  • Everyone over 18, and children accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Reservations are not required; however The Dining Room only serves up to 300 guests a day. Make your reservation at The Dining Room starting at 1 p.m.

Location

270 West Eighth Ave., Eugene (Between Lincoln and Charnelton)
Monday – Thursday, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

3. Burrito Brigade

The Burrito Brigade offers free vegan burritos that are handmade by volunteers and handed out every Sunday. Approximately 400 – 500 burritos are made per week and are available to anyone. These burritos are packed with nutritious beans and vegetable goodness!

Location

First Christian Church, Eugene (1166 Oak St.)

How to volunteer or donate

They tend to need volunteers for all shifts but lately they have been short-handed for clean-up and distribution. Check their main page for updates on their donation needs for the week. Visit their Facebook page  here for more info.

11:30-1:30 Chopping and cooking
1:30-3:00 Rolling and wrapping
2:30 Distribution meet up and cleanup

4. Student Food Pantry

If you are a college student (from any local college!) and are in need of free food for you or your family, this is the place for you. All you need to do is show up with your student ID and a bag for your groceries.

Location

ECM House, 1329 E 19th Ave – a block south of UO, between Emerald and Onyx — Every Thursday 4 – 6 p.m.

How to volunteer or donate

They accept donations of unopened non-perishable foods, grocery gifts cards, and financial support. They are always looking for volunteers to help with stocking the shelves on Wednesdays and distributing the food on Thursdays! If you are interested in helping, please contact the chaplain here.

5. Common Ground Garden

The Common Ground Garden is a community garden in the Friendly Neighborhood of Eugene where anyone can go to both plant and harvest any of the food grown there. All the food grown there is available to be harvested by anyone at any time!

Location

Corner of Van Buren and 21st Street in Eugene, Oregon 97405

How to volunteer or donate

There are organized garden work parties that are planned periodically and usually take place on Sundays. Anyone is welcome to help out on the fun!

For more information visit their Facebook page here.

6. Huerto de la Familia (The Family Garden)

Huerto de la Familia provides garden space in community garden plots for Latino families to grow nutritious, culturally appropriate food and save money on their grocery bills. What’s more, is that they also provide gardening training, plants, seeds, and organic gardening materials for families.

Locations

  • Churchill Community Garden in Eugene
  • Skinner City Farm in Eugene
  • Santa Clara Community Garden at St. Thomas Episcopal Church
  • Gamebird Community Garden in Springfield

How to volunteer or donate

From helping our organic gardening program participants prep soil to leading health clinics to teaching families how to preserve vegetables, volunteers help shape Huerto’s programs. For more information or to fill out their volunteer intake form, visit their website here.

7. SNAP and WIC Match Programs

If you want to stretch your food budget just a little bit further while eating local, organic foods, this is a resource worth using. At certain farmer’s markets listed below they will match every $1 or $2 a SNAP or WIC participant spends ($5 limit).

Locations

Sprout! Marketplace

418 A St., Springfield, Oregon, open every Friday from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Food For Lane County Farm Stands

  • Youth Farm – 705 Flamingo Ave. in Springfield, open Saturdays, June through October, 10-2.
  • PeaceHealth Riverbend – PeaceHealth Riverbend, open Thursdays, June through October, 2-6.

8. Outlet Grocery Stores

Outlet grocery stores can have prices that are sometimes up to 40% lower than chain stores. How it works is that these stores buy excess products or products that have had a packaging change from producers at a discount and then are able to sell to their customers at a discount. Shopping at one of these stores will definitely lower your grocery bill, just make sure to watch out for past due sell-by dates.

Locations

Franz Bakery Outlet

471 B South “A” Street, Springfield, OR 97477, (541)-746-6176. Store Hours: Mon-Fri 9-6, Sat 9-5

Grocery Outlet

  • Eugene – 2060 River Road, Eugene, OR, open M-F 8-9, Sat: 8-9, Sun: 8-9
  • Springfield – 160 S 14th St, Springfield, OR, open M-F 8-9, Sat: 8-9, Sun: 8-9
  • Cottage Grove – 200 Gateway Blvd, Cottage Grove, OR, open M-F 8-9, Sat: 8-9, Sun: 8-9

9. Holiday Food Box – St. Vincent de Paul Society

The holiday food box at St. Vincent de Paul provides families with a supply of festive holiday foods like turkey, ham, etc. so that families and their children can celebrate the holiday season.

To access services

To access services call the Lindholm Center at (541) 689-6747, open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
10:00am – 12:30pm
1:30 – 4:00pm.

How to volunteer or donate

Holiday food drive begins November 1. Donations accepted at all SVPD retail locations as well as additional locations throughout Lane County. They accept donations of food (canned goods, turkeys, ham, chicken, ect) and financial donations. They also sell turkey decals at retail locations to support the program.

10. Community Holiday Meal Sites

If you are in need of a warm holiday meal and don’t have access to a place where you can cook one yourself, this could be a great option. These sites often provide Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners and usually give out other items such as blankets, hygiene kits, etc. These dinners provide great company and usually focus on community building.

Locations

  • Junction City – Moose Lodge 2238, (541) 345-6553
  • Oakridge – United Methodist Church, (541) 782-3647
  • Florence – Florence Church of the Nazarene, (541) 997-9020
  • Eugene – Friendly Church of God, (541) 345-6553
  • Eugene – Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, (541) 688-2027
  • Eugene (Whiteaker) -Whiteaker Community Head Start Center, 21 N Grand Ave.

How to volunteer or donate

These meal sites are usually always in need of food and supply donations as well as volunteers to help with food prep, serving, and cleanup. For more information on how to volunteer at the Whiteaker Eugene location, visit their website here.

So whether you are in need of some creative ways to stretch your own food budget or are just looking for a way that you and your family can give back to your community, try checking out some of these great local resources.

Don’t see the perfect volunteering fit for you and your family? Visit United Way of Lane County’s Volunteer Center website here.

To be connected to other Lane County community resources or for more information on the resources listed above, please dial 2-1-1 or visit the 211 website here.