top of page
Lift UP Delivery Van packed and ready for deliveries

Lift UP envisions a Portland where everyone has access to healthy food and opportunities ​to connect ​meaningfully with others in the community.

Nourishing our Neighbors since 1980

Core Beliefs

We firmly believe in the principle that food is a fundamental human right, not a privilege. Everyone, regardless of their circumstances, deserves access to quality, nourishing food.

The Right to Food

We recognize that hunger is not selective — it can affect anyone, regardless of their socioeconomic or cultural background. We aim to address this universal issue with empathy and commitment.

Hunger Knows No Boundaries

We place the highest value on trust and empathy in our relationships with clients. We understand they are the best judges of their own needs, and we strive to listen, learn, and implement changes based on their feedback.

Trust and Empathy

We see food security as a comprehensive issue, one that extends beyond just meeting basic survival needs. It encompasses fulfilling nutritional, cultural, and familial needs with dignity, choice, and abundance.

Beyond Basic Nourishment

We respect the individuality of our clients, understanding that food choices are personal and subjective. The food we distribute is not under our control but is instead an exercise of our clients’ autonomy.

Respect for Individual Choices

Our approach is one of understanding and respect. While we make every effort to provide fresh, wholesome food, we refrain from judging the choices our clients make regarding their eating habits.

Non-Judgmental Approach

Lift UP Shopper in Pantry

We envision a Portland where everyone has access to healthy food and opportunities to deeply connect with fellow members of the community.

Lift UP began as a grassroots initiative led by community members from various congregations and synagogues in Downtown and Northwest Portland. They recognized the stark wealth disparities within their communities and felt compelled to organize volunteer efforts to support their neighbors in need.

While today’s Lift UP represents a broader diversity, we have held onto our roots by remaining a community-focused organization dedicated to serving low-income residents in the same areas. Over time, we have witnessed an unfortunate increase in hunger rates, but we’ve also seen how food can serve as a powerful unifying force. Today, our mission and programs focus on reducing hunger, fueling food security, and fostering social connections.

Our Vision

In December 2007, we became more deeply focused on fighting food insecurity, specifically when we acquired the food pantry (now named Preston’s Pantry). With the support of donors, the Oregon Food Bank, and local businesses, we expanded the program to provide pantry staples and fresh food in an environment akin to a small grocery store. The food pantry now serves 11,000 people a year!


In 2016, Lift UP pioneered the “Adopt a Building” program, a unique initiative designed to offer onsite food support to low-income residents across Northwest and Downtown Portland. We’ve since expanded our reach and formed partnerships with 50 affordable housing buildings within our service area. Through this program, alongside Preston’s Pantry and the Free Food Market, Lift UP distributed over 700,000 pounds of food in FY 22-23 alone! 

Masked Lift UP Shopper in Pantry

Lift UP was founded in 1980 by a group of church and synagogue members. Originally named “Northwest Portland Ministries,” the goal was to help neighborhood residents in need through coordinated volunteer efforts. Initial activities included conducting food drives, distributing government food commodities, helping residents connect with existing social services, and creating opportunities for community residents to socialize.


As volunteers became more deeply involved in the community, they identified the need for services that were unavailable through traditional sources. Lift UP began a partnership with the Housing Authority of Portland (now Home Forward) to provide social activities and other services to residents of low-income apartment buildings through the “Adopt a High Rise” program. Volunteers from churches and synagogues provided community-building and enrichment activities, including social events and classes.

Our Story

As Lift UP expands to address the increasing needs of our Portland community, we’re equally committed to addressing the underlying causes of hunger. Upholding the belief that everyone deserves access to food, we invite you to join us in working toward a future where all our Portland neighbors can enjoy food security.

What Can You Expect to See in the Future? 

Pantry Shelves Stocked and Ready for Shoppers
bottom of page