OFB has been busy with immediate emergency food distribution as well as bigger picture, larger conversations on a local, state and even national level.
OFB Network asks legislators to make food a priority, invest in Oregon Hunger Response Fund
More than a hundred food bankers from every corner of Oregon converged on Salem today to deliver more than a thousand paper plates, each filled with a message from a constituent (see examples above) and to ask legislators to invest in the state’s partnership with the Oregon Food Bank Network through the Oregon Hunger Response Fund.“It takes the commitment and resources of all sectors – public, private and nonprofit – to fight hunger in Oregon,” says Susannah Morgan, CEO, Oregon Food Bank. The Oregon Hunger Response Fund is the state’s contribution to the public-private partnership to fight hunger. It supports 20 regional food banks and more than 900 partner agencies with an annual budget of $1.1 million at time when request comes at a time when demand for emergency food continues to climb. The OFB Network is poised to distribute more than 80 million pounds of food for the third consecutive year.To fulfill growing requests for emergency food, the OFB Network is asking the Legislature to increase its investment in the Oregon Hunger Response Fund by $375,000 annually. This investment will allow the Oregon Food Bank Network to provide the same level of food to the many families that are still struggling with hunger.In an average month, more than 260,000 Oregonians eat meals from an emergency food box. Most people seeking emergency food are unemployed, underemployed, disabled, seniors or families with children. More than a third of those eating meals from an emergency food box are children. Even though the economy is slowly beginning to improve, Oregon’s unemployment rates remains above the national average.“It takes time for Oregonians who have lost their jobs, savings, health care and homes to get on their feet again,” says Morgan. “We expect the need for emergency food to continue at high levels for some time come.”
We are hopeful that we made an impact on April 18, 2013! Thank you for your continued interest and support.
OFB's 2011-12 annual report was just published. Arnie Gardener, Oregon Food Bank Chair, shares his thoughts:
Challenge and change. Over the past year, these words were at the forefront of our efforts as Oregon Food Bank faced record levels of hunger in our region and bid a fond farewell to Rachel Bristol, our founding CEO, who retired in June.
With your generous support, OFB, the OFB Network of Regional Food Banks and our partner agencies distributed 81.7 million pounds of food — the equivalent of 68 million meals — to families and individuals who needed a helping hand. This staggering figure underscored the overwhelming need for emergency food in our region. But we know that distributing emergency food is only a partial solution to the problem we face.
In FY 2011-12, we continued our leadership role in the fight against hunger by digging deeper. As our lagging economy forced more and more families into poverty, our commitment to innovative programs and strategic planning powered our ability to provide hope and help where it was needed most.
Our good work over the past year was made possible, in no small part, thanks to Rachel Bristol. During her 29 years of service,her tireless vision and tenacity guided OFB to become a highly respected, national model of collaboration and innovation. As we wish Rachel well on her retirement, we’re pleased to welcome Susannah Morgan, a committed, dynamic CEO who is excited to move us forward and build on OFB’s accomplishments.
It’s been a challenging year for Oregon Food Bank and the clients we serve. But your overwhelming support helped us bring immediate help to our neighbors in need and allowed us to focus on long-term solutions to fighting hunger at its root causes.
Your donations to this project helped distribute over 200 emergency food boxes to families in need since my last report. Thank you!
Why do so many families seek emergency food? Long-term unemployment, persistent underemployment, inadequate SNAP benefits and the high cost of food, gasoline, utilities and rent are the leading reasons people seek emergency food, according to the 2012 biennial Hunger Factors Assessment released today by the Oregon Food Bank Network of Regional Food Banks. The OFB Network of Regional Food Banks conducts the Hunger Factors Assessment (HFA) every two years. This year, 4,599 emergency-food recipients at 162 pantries in Oregon and Clark County, Wash., completed the survey. The survey also shows the poorest of the poor are getting poorer. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (61 percent) reported a drop in monthly income during the past two years. Nearly, 75 percent reported incomes below the federal poverty line (gross income of $23,050 for a family of four).“We were faithful donors to the food pantry before we went down to a one-person income. Thank you for helping us during this difficult time,” said one survey respondent.
When asked: “What happened to bring you to a food pantry?”• More than half (56 percent) of the respondents said they ran out of SNAP benefits (“food stamps”). That compares to 50 percent in 2010.
• Almost half (48 percent) of the respondents cited high food cost as one reason they needed emergency food, compared to 44 percent in 2010. “SNAP limits need to be raised to adjust for higher food costs,” wrote one respondent. “The cost of food has gone up, but the amount of SNAP stays the same,” stated another respondent.• 40 percent cited high gasoline costs, a sharp jump from 29 percent in 2010.“Gas and health care are too expensive,” one respondent wrote.
“The 2012 Hunger Factors Assessment results clearly show the continuing fallout of the massive job losses caused by the recession and the need for adequate support for SNAP,” said Wadsworth. “Congress’s proposed cuts to SNAP would greatly increase the number of Oregonians seeking emergency food and would simply overwhelm our network.”
The bright spot: The one bright spot of the survey shows that even though the hole is deep, some people are beginning to dig out. Households reporting at least one member with a full-time job increased from 22 percent in 2010 to 27 percent in 2012.
Oregon Food Bank’s Board of Directors has appointed Susannah Morgan, executive director of Food Bank of Alaska, as CEO of Oregon Food Bank, effective Nov. 5, 2012. The OFB Board selected Morgan after a thorough national search, following the retirement of Rachel Bristol, June 30.
“Susannah brings 13 years of extensive experience in the nonprofit sector and strong leadership in food-banking in the national arena,” said Arnie Gardner, chair, OFB Board of Directors. “She has the passion, vision and skills to build on OFB’s successes and to move OFB forward during a time of tremendous need and opportunity. We are thrilled to welcome her to Oregon Food Bank and look forward to introducing her to our community.”
Nearly 49 million people in America face hunger. That is 1 in 6 of the U.S. population – including more than 1 in 5 children. In Oregon, nearly 1 in 5 face food insecurity with 33% of those being children.
Don’t let their struggles go unheard. Join Oregon Food Bank and speak out against hunger.
30 ways in 30 days to fight hunger
Volunteer. Become a monthly sustainer. Donate produce from your garden. Read a book about hunger. Register to vote. Skip a meal and donate funds. Host a hunger banquet in your home. Tell your hunger story. Tweet.
Those are just a few of the many ways you can take action to fight hunger during September’s Hunger Action Month.
“We encourage everyone to get involved in fighting hunger during this nationwide campaign,” says Laura Golino de Lovato, director of development, marketing and communications at Oregon Food Bank. “We’ve posted 30 doable ways to take action. Are you a writer? An organizer? An advocate? A donor? A doer? Pick your way to help based on your talent and interest. There’s something for everyone."
“No matter how you choose to help, your pledge makes a big difference,” says Golino de Lovato. Oregon Food Bank distributes donated food throughout a statewide network of 20 regional food bank serving more than 923 nonprofit, hunger-relief agencies throughout Oregon and Clark County, Wash., and works to eliminate the root causes of hunger through nutrition and garden education, advocacy and community food security work.
Together we are making a difference! Thank you.
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Corporate Relations Developer