Mar 7, 2018

Improving Food Access for Everyone

A demonstration food pantry helps build empathy
A demonstration food pantry helps build empathy

Pantries work to better serve the needs of diverse communities 

Have you ever visited a grocery store that sells food from other countries? Were the labels written in a language you couldn't understand or the pictures unfamiliar? Many pantry visitors have this experience and often leave without getting the food they need. 

Mercedys Ruby of FOOD for Lane County is hoping to change the experience. She developed a simple exhibit that can help pantry managers and volunteers understand what their clients experience. Cans, bags and cartons of food are labeled in an unknown language with photos that aren't found on common supermarket products.

"Since coming up with this exhibit, I've seen people come to understand the challenges of non-English speakers face," says Merceyds. "It also helps them gain the patience they need to help others." Many pantry managers come away from the exhibit with a renewed drive to recruit translators and create information sheets in other languages. 

Your support helps fund translation services and printing of materials in multiple languages so no one will be hungry.

Dec 6, 2017

Reaching people where they live and work

Migrant farmworker receives healthy food
Migrant farmworker receives healthy food

Vital to the food industry, migrant workers often struggle with hunger.

Thousands of migrant farmworkers fill Oregon's fields in the summer. From planting to picking and pruning, they work long days in remote places. The results of their work fill grocery stores across teh state and beyond. Yet despite the large quantities of food they handle, migrant farmworkers and their families experience high rates of hunger. 

"It can be difficult, since the stores are far away and many workers don't have transportation," said Rosa Rivera, outreach coordinator with Virginia Garcia Medical Center. "Fear of being stopped by police or the immigration department presents many from leaving the camps where they live." 

With the help of volunteers, Virginia Garcia and support from the growers, Oregon Food Bank delivered produce and shelf stable food directly to camps in Washington County this summer. That food ensured that more than 500 men, women and children didn't go hungry. 

"By consistently reaching out during this summer, it gives the message that we care," said Kalika Stanton, migrant outreach volunteer. "It connects us as volunteers to a community of people that are usually skirting the margins of society." 

With your support, more people who live on the fringes of society are able to access nutritious food that allows them to contribute to the greater good of our community. 

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Sep 7, 2017

Uniting People to End Hunger

Shantae breaks down racial barriers in farming
Shantae breaks down racial barriers in farming

Farming Promotes Cultural Understanding 

On an overcast June day, more than 100 people gathered on Oregon Food Bank's Community Farm to mark the beginning of a new partnership that unites community and helps people struggling with hunger. Leading the effort is Shantae of Mudbone Grown. "We want to share the love of growing food with our community," said Shantae. "It is also important to change the narrative of what it means to be a farmer, especially for those in the black community." 

Oregon Food Bank's NE Portland headquarters includes adjacent land that is the home of the Learning Garden and a one-acre Community Farm. This year, farming operations are run by Mudbone Grown and the Black Food Sovereignty Council. To honor this collaboration, the land was renamed Unity Farm. 

People of color make up 28% of Portland's population. Recent events in the city and around the country have increased stress and tension. "Some of the things we're going to be doing at the farm is to just bring all communities together to grow and heal," said Shantae. Food grown on the farm will go to several groups working to curb food insecurity. Volunteers will also be given the option to take home a portion of the harvest. 

"We hope that with this Unity Farm everyone feels welcome here," said Shantae. "The soil really does heal us and gets us to take a time out from the hustle and bustle of the world." You can sign up to help at oregonfoodbank.org/volunteer. 

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