PSU participates in National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week through discussions and service projects

food pantry
Photo by Doug Van Anda

Portland State University will be one of more than 700 sites around the country recognizing National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. PSU events range from a discussion on “Hunger, Homelessness, and COVID-19,” to a food drive for the PSU Food Pantry.

The Student Community Engagement Center and partners organized the campus events to shed light on hunger, homelessness, the impact of COVID-19 and new ways to get involved and support the community.

“With the reigning pandemic and holiday season quickly approaching, we want to provide resources, information, and advocacy around food security and sovereignty. This event and the future series, will help inform students about how to approach food security on a personal and community level,” said Vanessa Lanning, a student in environmental studies who helped organize the food security event.

A recent study by the Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative shows that more than 60 percent of PSU students and nearly 30 percent of employees experience food insecurity, housing insecurity, or homelessness. Portland voters also rated homelessness as the city’s No. 1 issue. 

This week’s events include:

Nov. 17

Food Security In Uncertain Times: Exploring food security resources across the greater Portland area's college campuses with speakers from Food Security and Basic Needs programs at Portland State University, Portland Community College, Pacific University and Reed College. The event runs 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Zoom. Register online.

Nov. 18

Meals on Wheels Service Projects: The Student Community Engagement Center will offer two opportunities to serve. Get trained on how to make “Friendly Calls” to Meals on Wheels homebound seniors 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. and/or make cards to brighten a senior’s day 4 to 5:15 p.m. Both events are virtual.

Nov. 19

Student Housing Insecurity Summit hosted by Portland State University: The virtual summit will bring together Portland area institutions of higher education, policy makers, and philanthropists to address student homelessness and housing insecurity, 9 a.m. to noon. For more information contact Ryan Sturley at

Nov. 20

Panel Discussion on Hunger and Homelessness: The panel includes experts from Central City Concern, PSU’s Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative (Dr. Greg Townley), PSU’s SNAP Training and Education Program, PSU’s Student Food Pantry. The discussion runs from noon to 1 p.m. with an optional reflection room following. Register online.


PSU Food Pantry Drive: Donate to the food pantry noon to 5 p.m. through Nov. 20, Fifth Avenue Cinema, 510 SW Hall Street, Portland. Items needed: rice, canned meats, canned fruits, cooking and baking supplies, canned legumes, dry legumes. For more information or to donate after Nov. 20, please contact

Winter Support Drive: Greater Than is collecting donations aimed at helping families of the Reynolds School District in East County this winter. It will distribute food and gift cards to families and children ranging from Pre-K to College age. Please include "Winter Support" in the donation line on their website

Advocacy: Oregon Food Bank is urging people to contact congressional leaders to do everything in their power to pass a stimulus that addresses food insecurity. Go to the food bank’s website for more information.