Did you know that Oregon Food Bank was created in the early 1980s when Oregon was in a bad recession? The economic downturn was fueled by timber mill closures and government layoffs; unemployment was at 12 percent. At the time, we served 200,000 people annually. Today, unemployment in the state remains above 10 percent. And, the OFB Network distributed more than 900,000 emergency food boxes last year in Oregon and Clark County, Wash. The demand for emergency food has grown over the years but, fortunately, so have our programs and donations of food, money and volunteer time.
Donors, like you, have allowed us to meet the demand for emergency food through specific product purchases to round out the emergency food boxes. During the spring/summer we also supplement the non-perishable goods with produce from gardens throughout the state.
As reliance on the OFB Network has grown we have had to work strategically to meet the needs. One area that is flourishing is our Learning Garden program. Oregon Food Bank directly manages two gardens that not only provide produce but also teach the community how to be self-reliant. "The though economy has renewed people's interest in gardening," says Rebeca Siplak, OFB Learning Garden program coordinator. "I'm excited for the future of the program as more and more people learn to garden. Each family that can grow its own food brings us one step closer to creating a strong, local, sustainable food system, eventually eliminating hunger."
OFB's garden education programs address the root causes of hunger through improved nutrition, community food security and self-reliance. For many clients, the produce they receive from the Oregon Food Bank Network local partner agencies is their only source of produce. They just can't afford to buy it at the grocery store.
Our mission is to end the root causes of hunger and with your support we continue to aim for that goal through education, advocacy, and food distribution. Thank you!