Stories about how the Port is moving with purpose to transform our region into a place where everyone is welcome, empowered, and connected to opportunity.
Urban Gleaners PDX Partnership Helps Feed the Hungry

Think for a moment about the grab n’ go shelves at any major airport, stocked with fresh premade yogurt parfaits, sandwiches and deli salads.

Now think about that food winding up in a compost bin – or worse yet, a landfill – if not sold in time to meet market standards.

Not wanting to see perfectly good food go uneaten, PDX restaurants donate unsold, ready-to-eat food to folks in need, in partnership with local nonprofit Urban Gleaners. Thanks to our waste minimization team's implementation of this program, PDX restaurants have provided sandwiches, salads, parfaits, baked goods and produce to Urban Gleaners' Free Food Markets twice a week since 2013 (though the program went on hiatus in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, returning in 2023).

The program is meaningful not just in its purpose, but also to the airport partners that contribute. Anna Shamray with Hudson notes, "Being a food donation partner gives us a sense of community and shared purpose that is truly uplifting and empowering. Participation in the program has helped educate us and bring awareness regarding food waste, community needs, and ways we can contribute and give back."

On average, PDX donates more than 500 pounds of food – or the equivalent of more than 400 meals – each month. And since the program's start in 2013, PDX businesses have donated approximately 325 tons of food, or 541,000 meals to our local nonprofit partner, Urban Gleaners.

"We are so appreciative to have this partnership with PDX. Our pickups twice a week add to the amount of prepared/ready-to-eat meals that we are able to send out. We pride ourselves in being able to provide this kind of food at our Free Food Markets because we serve a diverse community, including those that may be experiencing homelessness, low-income families, and individuals without access to cooking facilities. Ready-to-eat meals alleviate the burden of food preparation, while still providing our clientele with nutritious food."

Amber Durkin, Sustainability & Operations Manager at Urban Gleaners

Urban Gleaners makes two weekly stops at PDX to pick up food from a common refrigerator and storage area. The donated food goes to the nonprofit’s facility for sorting and distribution, then out for delivery to 42 different locations in the metropolitan area, including local food kitchens and school districts in low-income areas. Urban Gleaners never charges for food.