Make Sack Lunches for Shelter Residents

We feed people three meals per day at our three emergency shelters. Sack lunches make great meals that are easy to distribute, and they’re a wonderful way to volunteer in support of your neighbors!

How it Works

Before you get started, contact us to get on our meal calendar. You will then buy the ingredients, prepare the sandwiches and pack the bags in your own space where no one is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or other contagious illnesses. You’ll then deliver the lunches to our shelter teams, who will distribute lunches to residents.

Ingredients and Tools

This list is sized to create lunches for 40 people. We recommend that you make 25% PB&J and 75% meat. You can alter this basic recipe to suit taste, use available ingredients, accommodate food allergies or intolerances, and be mindful of religious and other common dietary restrictions.

  • Small paper sacks (and a thick marker to label)
  • Plastic sandwich bags
  • Disposable paper napkins
  • Sliced sandwich bread (80 slices)
  • Peanut butter (one extra-large container)
  • Jelly (one extra-large jar)
  • Pre-sliced cheese (two slices per sandwich)
  • Pre-sliced meat, such as ham or turkey (two slices per sandwich)
  • Large head of lettuce (one large leaf per meat sandwich)
  • Single-use mayo and mustard packets (one each per bag)
  • Fruit: apples and oranges (one per bag)
  • Cookies, brownies (home baked or store bought) or energy bar: one per bag (two if small)


  • Follow guidelines for safe food preparation.
  • Lay out sandwich slices, assemble with fillings and place in plastic sandwich bags.
  • Label the brown sandwich bags with the basic contents. This helps with distribution and is considerate of people’s various dietary needs.
  • Protect unpackaged cookies that are likely to break by placing them in a small bag, or by wrapping them in wax paper or plastic wrap.
  • Place one sandwich, one piece of fruit and one cookie, brownie or energy bar in a brown paper lunch bag. For meat-based sandwiches, include one single-use mayo and mustard in each bag. Add a paper napkin.


Call or text us at (503) 278-1637 or email us at to coordinate delivery. You can plan to deliver to one of our locations within our East Portland or Gresham service area.

Contact Our Volunteer Team

Questions? Get in touch!

Email Us

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Looking for other ways to volunteer? Visit our main volunteer page to explore our available opportunities.