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Governor's State Employees Food Drive raised food, funds equivalent to 4.3-million pounds

April 20, 2010
PORTLAND, Ore. — State employees once again stepped up to the plate in a difficult economy to raise the equivalent of 4.3-million pounds of food during the Governor’s State Employee’s Food Drive for the Oregon Food Bank Network. That’s the equivalent of more than 100 semi-truck loads.

“Due to the economy, the need for emergency food continues to break record levels. The resources, volunteer time and work state employees donate in support of the Oregon Food Bank Network is simply incredible,” said Rachel Bristol, CEO, Oregon Food Bank, at an event, April 14, to celebrate and recognize the food drives successful results. “This is the largest, longest-running food drive in the state. Every regional food bank and community in the state feels the benefit of this food drive.”

"This year's State Employees Food Drive theme, ‘Now More Than Ever,’ truly sums up the need we are seeing across the state. Oregonians have been hit hard during this recession and the overwhelming support of state employees during our food drive is a testament to their commitment and passion for our state and our citizens,” said Dawn Bond, the Governor’s human services policy adviser. "We owe a heartfelt thank you to our state employees who participated in the food drive and to all the Oregonians who work together so we will win this fight against hunger."

The Governor’s State Employees Food Drive began in 1981 as a way to help people suffering from hunger during another difficult economic period in Oregon’s history. The food drive takes place annually throughout February. State employees raised 187,000 pounds of food and $821,033 in funds (funds equivalent to almost 4.3-million pounds) through events, personal donations and payroll deductions.

All food and funds donated during the State Employees Food Drive support the Oregon Food Bank Network. Donations stay in the community where they were collected to help local families and individuals in need.

“State employees have stepped up year after year to help the Oregon Food Bank Network, and this year's food drive is no exception,” says Brenda Turner, co-coordinator of the statewide food drive with Mary Jane Schaffer. “From basketball tournaments, to silent auctions, to bake sales, to monthly payroll deductions, the food-drive activities show not only the creativity of state employees but also their generosity and desire to help those in need.”

Distribution of emergency food and the number of people served throughout the OFB Network escalated to historic highs during fiscal year 2008-09, and the need remains alarmingly high. Distribution of emergency food boxes increased 14 percent from 786,000 in 2007-08 to 897,000 in 2008-09. In an average month, more than 240,000 people eat meals from emergency food boxes. From July – December 2009, emergency food requests continued to grow by an average of 4 percent statewide with Washington County experiencing the largest surge in need at 34 percent followed by Coos and Curry Counties where the need rose 17 percent over the same period in 2008.

What is the Oregon Food Bank Network?
The Oregon Food Bank Network is a cooperative statewide coalition of 20 regional food banks working to eliminate hunger and its root causes by distributing donated food to agencies serving low-income people and through advocacy and public education about the underlying causes of hunger.
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