Family economic security in America increased steadily for several decades during the last century. Group participants in a focus group in Portland, Oregon feel like they are increaslingly exposed to harsh risks.
Denise who resides in Portland says, "I've never needed help before. I've been lucky up to this point in my life. But here I am, 15 years before retirement, facing the biggest financial stuggle of my life. We may lose our home."
Denised wanted to share her story with legislators through OFB's focus groups because she is concerned about the direction our state is headed. She once thought her famly's economic future was safe. She owned her home and had retirement savings. "I was an optician and had my own optical shop," she said. "People came to me to get their glasses fixes. We also had a mobile optical service for nursing home residents. I was making a decent living and helped a lot of people on Medicaid and medical assistance. Then I had to close my business when some of my clients couldn't return to me because of changes in the Oregon Health Plan."
"I never thought that I would have to ask for help at this stage in my life," she said. "In the last two years I'vve been laid off from two jobs due to the economy and cutbacks. My husband and I aren't home at the same time, because he worksnights and I am on the go a lot, trying to find employment. I've already had to take money from my 403(k) to pay for bills. I've had to prioritize keeping the lights on over food. So, I'm grateful for help from the food pantry.
"I just want to thank you for listening to my story. "Change can happen if we all pull together, share our concerns and love one another. Change could start right here with us."
This is just one story highlighting the changing face of hunger. It is difficult, however with the help of donors like you, OFB is able to purchase and distribute food, throughout the state, to those in need. Thank you for your support of the community.