News media - FAQ

How did Oregon Food Bank start?
Food banking started in Oregon under the leadership of Governor Tom McCall. He inspired charitable organizations in the state to work together to provide emergency food-relief to people in need.

The two main organizations, Oregon Food Share and Interagency Food Bank, merged in 1988 to form Oregon Food Bank.

How do you distribute food?
Oregon Food Bank does not give food directly to the public. It distributes food to regional food banks throughout the state. They, in turn, distribute food to a network of approximately 960 food pantries, soup kitchens, and other programs such as shelters, day-care centers, youth programs, senior programs and rehabilitation centers.

OFB distributes food to agencies according to an allocation formula based on data including the area's poverty rate and unemployment rate.

OFB also directly operates the four regional food banks serving the Portland metro area, southeast Oregon and Tillamook County. Every week more than 300 partner agencies come to those facilities to pick up their food orders.

How does hunger in Oregon compare to hunger in other states?

Due to high unemployment and home foreclosures caused by the recession, Oregon is once again among the top states in the nation in hunger.

How is OFB funded?

OFB is a nonprofit organization. It is funded through private contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations. Other sources of revenue include special events and share contributions from member agencies. Less than 7 percent comes from state, local and federal grants.

How much food do you distribute?
Last year, Oregon Food Bank collected and distributed 45-million pounds of food. In total, the Oregon Food Bank Network of 945 agencies distributed 81-million pounds of food.
What is an emergency food box?

An emergency food box is a three-to five-day supply of nutritionally balanced groceries for a family. The amount of food provided in an emergency food box is determined by the number of household members. A typical emergency food box for a family of four is about 50 pounds of food.

What is Oregon Food Bank?

Oregon Food Bank is a nonprofit, charitable organization that works holistically to help low-income families alleviate hunger and its root causes. OFB helps nearly one in five households fend off hunger by distributing food from a variety of sources through a statewide network that includes its four branches (in Beaverton, Ontario, Portland and Tillamook), 16 independent regional food banks and 945 partner agencies. Oregon Food Bank also addresses the root causes of hunger through advocacy, education programs for low-income youth and adults and by bringing communities together to strengthen local and regional food systems.

Where does the food come from?

The OFB Network receives food from a variety of sources:

  • 49 percent comes from the food industry (growers, processors, manufacturers, distributors, retailers)
  • 15 percent from food drives
  • 23 percent comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • 13 percent is purchased
Who is hungry?
The OFB Network distributed a record amount of emergency food boxes last year. An estimated 260,000 people ate meals from emergency food boxes in an average month last year. Of those, 34 percent were children.

In addition, soup kitchens and shelters provided 4-million emergency meals and other network agencies helped more than 93,000 people.

Those most likely to need emergency food are families and children. Most adults who receive emergency food are looking for work, working, retired or disabled. And two-parent families make up the largest group of those receiving emergency food.

Why are people in Oregon hungry?
Hunger is an income problem. People are hungry because they don't make enough money to cover basic living costs. 

Most adult emergency food box recipients are looking for work, working, retired or disabled. 

Unemployment is forcing more people to seek emergency food.