Every day in Oregon, hundreds of thousands of our neighbors engage in a lonely and all but invisible struggle to afford enough food for themselves and their families. They face choices no one should have to, and they do so with so much strength, resilience and quiet dignity that most people never notice how prevalent hunger is in their neighborhoods.
In Tillamook, we met a man, Mike, who has been told his whole life that he shouldn’t even be alive.
“I’m one of those ghost people. It’s hard when you have disabilities. People always tell me I am a retard, I am no good, I shouldn’t even be alive. And I hear that constantly—my whole life. I’m the type that doesn’t like to get help; I have to do it on my own. The last few years have been really, really tough. I had to break down, put my pride on hold and get help from the food pantry. I’m the type who sits in the back of the room not saying anything. I’m one of those ghost people. I’m grateful for the food banks. If other people need help with food, I help them when I can. I help people who are a little bit worse off than me."
America’s narrative about poverty and hunger is dominated more and more every day by the false belief that people who are struggling are making poor choices or not working hard enough. The purpose of Oregon Food Bank’s annual Voices project is to shine a light on the real causes of hunger by bringing attention to real stories of people we serve. We traveled across the state to speak with food-insecure Oregonians about issues that matter to them.
We sincerely appreciate the honesty and courage of those who shared their experiences with us. These stories move and educate us. No one should be hungry, and so long as hunger still exists, no one should have to face it alone.
On Monday, January 20th, a record-breaking number of volunteers - almost 700 - honored Martin Luther King Jr. with a Day of Service by repacking food and sorting food-drive donations at two Oregon Food Bank facilities. Volunteers processed over 100,000 pounds of food – equivalent to more than 83,000 meals, and as much as the two facilities process in a regular work week. None of this would be possible without your donations.
In answer to Dr. King’s famous call to action – "Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’" – Congress passed this sanctioned Day of Service challenging Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action.
"We are grateful for all the volunteers giving their time in the spirit of service embodied by Dr. King. Together we can make significant strides toward eliminating hunger in Oregon," said Sarah Schirmer, Oregon Food Bank Corporate and Foundation Relations Developer.
Each dollar you donate provides OFB the power to source and distribute 3 full meals to people in Oregon and SW Washington who are struggling with the devastating effects of hunger. Thank you for making a huge impact in the fight against hunger.
"Because of your compassion and committment, our community is stronger. Your generosity of giving Oregon Food bank the power to meet the overwhelming demand for food assistance in bold new ways. We thank you for joining our mission to end hunger." Susannah Morgan, CEO- Oregon Food Bank.
For the third year in a row, the Oregon Food Bank Network distributed more than 1 million emergency food boxes in Oregon and Southwest Washington. This staggering figure underscores the fact that hundreds of thousands o ffamilies and individuals throughout our region continue to struggle with hunger. but with the support of our community, donors and partners, we were able to provide food, education nd hope to our neighbors in need. To find out how we did this, please see our annual report.
Summer is a challenging time for families who face food insecurity since many kids receive free or reduced meals at school. Oregon Food Bank works tirelessly with the community to get food to those in need.
In April we had a very successful Hunger Response Day at the Capitol. Oregon Food Bank Network clients wrote more than 1,000 messages on paper plates asking elected officials to make food a priotiy. This effort gained the attention of 76 state legislators and their staff members.
In June, Jadyn bravely shared his story of food insecurity. He did so in an effort to preserve support for food banks and programs like SNAP (food stamps) that ensure thousands of families, like his, have enough to eat. We thank Jadyn for his courage and candor.
Together we can make a difference in the lives of people in Oregon and Clark County, Washington. Thank you for your support.
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.
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