PORTLAND, Ore. — Tanasbourne Whole Foods Market’s Community Day raised more than $1,180 to help fight hunger in Washington County. The donation is the result of the store’s commitment to donate 5 percent of net sales that were earned on its Community Day, Jan. 13.
Oregon Food Bank will use the funds to purchase compost, soil, seeds and edible landscape plants and garden supplies for its new Learning Garden in Washington County.
In partnership with Rachel Carson Environmental Middle School, Oregon Food Bank is creating the new Learning Garden at Five Oaks Middle School, just one block from OFB’s new distribution center, OFB West, in Washington County.
Students at Rachel Caron School of Environmental Science will learn the science of gardening as they help grow food for people who are hungry in their community.
The new partnership fits perfectly with the school’s philosophy of community service, says Rebecca Hall, teacher at Rachel Carson. It’s also a perfect fit for Oregon Food Bank West, which lacks garden space.
Oregon Food Bank plans to open OFB West at N.W. 173rd and Cornell Road in late June to meet the increasing need for emergency food in Washington County.
“Hunger in Washington County is rising at twice the rate statewide,” notes Rebeca Siplak, Learning Garden program coordinator.
Distribution of emergency food skyrocketed 28 percent in Washington County during fiscal year 2008-09 – twice the statewide average. Washington County’s population increased 14 percent from 2000 to 2007 while its poverty rate increased 38 percent.
“We thank Whole Foods Market Tanasbourne for selecting our project as the beneficiary of the 5 percent Community Day. Community Day offered us an excellent opportunity to connect with community members who drive right by the school and garden every day. We welcome the community to the Learning Garden and encourage our neighbors to enjoy this addition to Beaverton’s landscape,” says Siplak.
OFB has already installed irrigation, a storage shed and a fence at the site. OFB West volunteers will help maintain the site year-round.
About Oregon Food Bank
Oregon Food Bank is a nonprofit, charitable organization. It is the hub of a statewide network of 935 local partner agencies serving Oregon and Clark County, Wash. OFB recovers food from farms, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, individuals and government sources. It then distributes that food to 20 regional food banks across Oregon. Sixteen are independent charitable organizations. OFB directly operates the four regional food banks serving the Portland metropolitan area, southeast Oregon and Tillamook County. Those four centers distribute food weekly to 380 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other programs helping low-income individuals in Multnomah, Clackamas, Clark, Washington, Harney, Malheur and Tillamook counties. OFB also works to eliminate the root causes of hunger through its Nutrition Education program, Learning Gardens, advocacy program and public education.