by Susannah Morgan, CEO
In my video update this week, I led with a sincere ‘thank you’ to our entire community — and for good reason.
We’ve been moved to tears by the outpouring of support for our effort to #EmergeStronger in the wake of COVID-19. In the few short weeks since we issued our challenge, our community has truly rallied. We’ve seen nearly 4,000 new donors join us online since this crisis began, and what’s really special is that many of our strongest supporters are people who have already been impacted by the pandemic. One supporter shared that they recently lost their employment amidst business closures; another contributed the proceeds of their social security check, knowing others face even harder times; and our youngest new donor is just ten-years old — contributing funds collected with their parents’ blessing.
It’s because of this generosity — and the longstanding support from our community — that Oregon Food Bank is strongly positioned to tackle this public health crisis head-on. Our statewide network of regional food banks and partner agencies are moving mountains to meet the evolving needs of people throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington. We couldn’t do this without such strong partners in our work to rebuild and emerge stronger than ever from this crisis.
But while we’re confident in our position today, we know our work has just begun. More than 75,000 Oregonians filed for unemployment the week of March 15 alone — and that’s before our stay-at-home order shuttered countless businesses. Our sister Food Banks across the country have already seen a 40% spike in demand for food assistance as more and more people face job loss. And officials now estimate that our public health system won’t see the worst of this pandemic until May, at the earliest — so we can only expect demand to grow from here. So we’re pulling out all the stops now to make sure we’re able to keep nutritious food flowing to hard-hit communities throughout the region, no matter how long this crisis lasts.
That’s where your generosity and action come into play: because we need you now, more than ever.
- We’re ramping up purchases of delivery-ready pantry staples, and we need your support.
- Our 1,400+ partner agencies are moving mountains to meet high-risk individuals where they are, and we need your time and talent.
- The Oregon legislature will soon debate its emergency relief package, and we need your voice to get it done.
So whether you’ve stepped up in the past two weeks, two months, or plan to take action in the days and weeks to come: thank you. This outpouring of support demonstrates our shared love for humankind, the care we all feel for our neighbors and the strong commitment we’ve made to the dignity of every person. Because we all believe that food is a human right — and our collective action can bolster the health, well-being and resilience of our communities.
Thank you for all you’ve done—and will do—to help our communities #EmergeStronger.