Portland, OR. The Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board approved a $2.9 million investment in emergency food assistance through the Oregon Food Bank Network — a critical allocation at a time when nearly one in five state residents face hunger. The measure will increase the amount of nutritious food available at Oregon pantries and meal sites over the course of the next three months, as the ongoing pandemic continues to impact area communities. The Legislative Emergency Board funds allocated earlier this month will help to address rising food insecurity across Oregon in the wake of COVID-19.
CEO Susannah Morgan reacted to the legislative action: “The Emergency Board’s investment comes at a critical time for our communities, as our neighbors experience food insecurity at the highest rate in a century. The pandemic has brought hunger and poverty to the doorsteps of thousands of Oregon families for the first time, and the situation is even worse in communities that have faced disproportionate challenges for generations. Long-standing structural inequities have ensured that the pandemic’s public health and economic impacts fall more heavily on people of color, immigrants and refugees, single parents and caregivers, and our trans and gender non-conforming neighbors — many of whom serve in essential, front-line roles within our healthcare and food systems.”
She continues, “Throughout the pandemic, our network of 21 regional food banks and 1,400 local partners has moved mountains to ensure that nutritious food is available to everyone who needs it. But the economic fallout of COVID-19 has been compounded by devastating wildfires, and significant support is needed to continue to meet these crises head-on. With today’s action, the Emergency Board has made a significant and critical investment in the food security of millions of Oregonians whose lives have been destabilized in one of the most challenging years in recent memory.”
Food Bank officials say Federal action on COVID relief is desperately needed to shore up safety net programs that provide vital support for struggling families, from Unemployment Insurance to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. And thousands of our neighbors face homelessness at year’s end if the full state legislature does not convene to extend Oregon’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium. Our communities are facing one of the worst public health and economic crises in generations, and we need bold action from elected leaders at all levels to help ensure we all emerge stronger.
It’s not too late to give back this season and many organizations are currently donating a portion of their sales to the Oregon Food Bank through December. Currently, food donations have been put on pause for Oregon Food Bank’s as well as having to reduce the number of volunteers from about 100 to 10 due to COVID-19.
The Oregon Food Bank has also canceled its food drives right now, but these organizations below are offering another way to help those experiencing food insecurity. For more information on each of the different organizations and to help donate to the Oregon Food Bank click on the links below.
- Willamette Week Give! Guide
- ComeUnity PDX Fundraiser
- The Calligraphic Coronavirus Chronicle benefit
- Battle Creek Cellars fundraiser for Oregon Food Bank
- Bridge City Staging Fundraiser
- Oregon Symphony Essential Sounds
- Holiday Wine Benefit
- The Willamette Wineries Giving Season
- Joel Gott Wines: Gott for Good
Ashley Mumm, Public Relations Manager, explains that there are also other fundraisers throughout the year to help the Oregon Food Bank, “In addition to those that are on the calendar, there’s a lot of activity going on in the community, which is amazing.”
People also have the option to create a peer-to-peer fundraiser to help combat hunger and rally friends, family, and/or co-workers to help out. This option is open all year long and just $1 helps the Oregon Food Bank distribute three meals in the community.
Over 1 million people will experience food insecurity for the first time this year according to Mumm. This has increased from last year where about 860,000 people were experiencing food insecurity. Despite this increase, Mumm reminds people, “That we’re here, food is available; please get food.”
An additional way to look for opportunities to give back is by using #OregonFoodBank on Instagram that usually has other activities happening around the state from small businesses/individuals. The online app, OregonFoodFinder.org, allows people to search by zip code, days and times of operations, and what each partner offers (groceries/food/meals, etc.).
Giving back can mean more than just donating, Mumm explains, “For those that are safe and feel comfortable, volunteers are always welcome. We have over 400 partners in the metro area that are also potentially welcoming volunteers.”
From the Oregon Food Bank Website: Our mission is to eliminate hunger and its root causes because no one should be hungry.