Recently. I completed a grant application that requested an outline of how WE are working collaboratively in the non-profit realm to achieve our mission. This process gave me the chance to reflect on the three simple words in the title of this project. The rate of food insecurity continues to rise in Oregon. But with the support of a strong community, we continue to be hopeful. Financial support allows us to purchase food to balance the nutrition of an emergency food box. And as the cost to meet the overwhelming demand continues to rise, we are grateful for your continued donations of support.
With limited resources and the sheer quantity of non-profit organizations in Oregon, the question is valid and strategic. I readily answered the funder's question, which reinforced my own belief that by supporting our efforts, we will eliminate hunger and its root causes.
Here are some recent highlights of the collaborative work done by departments at OFB and the community:
Fresh Alliance, an OFB partnership with local grocery stores, recently celebrated 10 years of work. The Fresh Alliance program works with grocery stores to collect food that is past the "sell-by" date but still "useable." This collaboration is a win/win for retailers and OFB. The Oregon Food Bank Network gets highly nutritious product and grocers reduce their waste costs. The past 10 years efforts have provided nearly 33 million pounds of food for the Network!
A major bill that Gov. Kitzhaber recently signed, HB 4068, will allow Oregon food banks to distribute fresh-caught salmon that otherwise might be thrown away. Known as "bycatch," the law applies to fish that are caught incidentally when commercial fishing boats haul in species other than the ones they are going after. Typically, that means salmon caught while fishing for whiting, according to Mike Moran, OFB food resource manager. "In a good year, it could mean 20 to 30 tons of fish -- 160,000 servings getting out to people," Moran said.
Locally, Oregon Food Bank's Learning Garden Program has been taking advantage of a new greenhouse that was built at the headquarters in NE Portland. Plant starts grown in the greenhouse are being distributed to low-income residents at farmer's markets. These seed starts, if planted and harvested, will provide over 6,000 pounds of fresh produce to food-insecure residents.
And lastly, when a community comes together to discuss how it can build a healthier, more sustainable food system, amazing things happen. Relationships with local growers flourish. Backyard gardens and new farmers markets sprout. And neighbors learn that, by working together, they can create a stronger local food system that takes advantage of the resources within their community.
For nearly two years, through our Food-Education-Agriculture-Solutions-Together (FEAST) program, Oregon Food Bank has worked to promote more equitable and resilient food systems. The program has engaged and educated Oregonians across the state with informed, facilitated discussions about the role food and agricultural resources play in their communities. OFB held its first FEAST event in Cannon Beach in September of 2009. Since then, nine additional communities across Oregon have held events with 50 to 60 community members participating in each session
We continue to collaborate, ask tough questions and work towards our mission: To eliminate hunger and its root causes... because no one should be hungry. Thank you for your support -- we could not do what we do without you!
We surpassed the funding goal, to date!
Thank you for supporting the Increase Food Security project. We have been able to purchase and distribute hundreds of thousands of pounds of food through your generous donations and company match efforts. According to our donation page we met and exceeded our fundraising project goal in December 2011! While this is great news, the need for emergency food continues to grow and there are so many loyal supporters that we didn't want this project to close and miss out on the relationship we are building.
Oregon Food Bank established our partnership with GlobalGiving in 2008 and launched this project in early 2009. We had no idea what type of interest the project would attract so our goal was somewhat nebulous. As momentum increased, we increased our goal…. A lot. We can hardly believe it but we were able to surpass the lofty $75,000 goal by December 2011. Again, Thank you! Rather than closing the project and making a note that it is fully funded, we are raising our goal and keeping the project, which is the core of our mission, alive and on your radar.
Our project goal for 2012 is to secure an additional $50,000.00 to increase food security in Oregon. Through our diverse network on GlobalGiving, we are confident we can achieve this lofty goal.
Thank you for all your support and interest in Oregon Food Bank.
Thank you for supporting Oregon Food Bank. The annual voices project has been published and I wanted to share it with you.
The real faces of food insecurity in Oregon are hundreds of thousands of our neighbors who struggle invisibly every day. In Tillamook, a mother only pretends to eat at dinnertime and tells her daughter that the big meals she sees on TV are make-believe. In La Pine, an unemployed construction superintendent attends a suicide intervention training for volunteers at the community kitchen and pantry. A veteran from Ontario says a mayonnaise sandwich tastes pretty good if you’re hungry.Stories like these show the toll that hunger takes on the 260,000 households that receive emergency food boxes from partner agencies throughout the Oregon Food Bank Network every month. The goal of Oregon Food Bank’s annual Voices project is to bring attention to the stories of individuals who receive emergency food. In October of 2011, 49 people attended Voices focus groups in Florence, La Pine, Portland, Roseburg, Shady Cove, Silverton and Tillamook. Seven people also shared their stories with us through video interviews in Ontario.We sincerely appreciate the honesty and courage of those who shared their experiences with us. Stories about their lives provide valuable insight and help us better accomplish our mission to eliminate hunger and its root causes … because no one should be hungry.
To learn more go to http://www.oregonfoodbank.org/About-Us/Voices