Food industry partners step up during Salem water emergency

July 17, 2018 – Imagine going to your sink to get a glass of water, only to remember that what is coming out of the tap could make you sick. That was the reality for thousands of Salem residents this spring when high levels of algae-produced toxins were discovered in their drinking water.

People who struggle to put food on the table were especially hard hit, trying to figure out how to stretch tight budgets further. Others impacted by the advisory were children, senior citizens, pregnant and nursing women as well as people with compromised immune systems and kidney disorders. But thanks to the generosity of some of Oregon Food Bank’s food industry partners, the people we serve didn’t have to worry for long. Fred Meyer, Grocery Outlet, Safeway, Nestle and Coca Cola answered the call for help and provided more than 13 truckloads of bottled water.

“I was overwhelmed by the response,” says Sharon McFadden, a food resource developer for Oregon Food Bank. “It’s reassuring to have steadfast partners who can respond quickly.” The water was distributed through Marion-Polk Food Share and its partners in Salem.

Water not used during the Salem crisis will be stored. Oregon is already dealing with drought and wildfires in the southern part of the state. Last summer Oregon Food Bank provided food, snacks and water to people affected by the Chetco Bar fire on the southern Oregon Coast and the Eagle Creek in the Columbia River Gorge. Your donations allow us to be part of statewide emergency response efforts. If an incident happens in the northwest, Oregon Food Bank can respond quickly and effectively.