“To eliminate hunger and its root causes . . . because no one should be hungry.” Oregon Food Bank is dedicated to ensuring no one goes hungry today, that Oregon becomes the first state to eliminate hunger, and that we hold people experiencing hunger at the center of all we do.

Oregon Food Bank continues to change the perception of food banking. By sourcing fresh produce and nutritious pantry staples, along with nutrition education, we offer clients tools for a healthy diet. Oregon Food Bank has joined with other anti-poverty groups to amplify the voices of people struggling with hunger and promote policy changes. You are part of this transformation.

Oregon Food Bank continues to help our neighbors struggling with food insecurity and to ensure food is available for all. Take a look at what your support of Oregon Food Bank accomplished last year.

People struggling with hunger now have more healthy food choices due to the expansion of Oregon Food Bank’s Fresh Alliance program.

Safeway joined the program in July 2015, integrating more than 100 stores over the course of 11 months. The Fresh Alliance program is designed to divert safe, edible grocery items (that might otherwise be composted or discarded) to food pantries.

Since its inception in 2001, Fresh Alliance has diverted more than 80 million pounds of food from waste and compost, and has been replicated by food banks across the country. Last year, our Fresh Alliance partners donated more than 18 million pounds of food, equating to more than 15 million meals.

In November 2015, Mid-Columbia Community Action Council (MCCAC) and Oregon Food Bank agreed that Oregon Food Bank should step up to provide food assistance in The Dalles. Since then, Oregon Food Bank has made sure 8,000 residents have access to food. Every week fresh produce, pantry staples, dairy and meat are supplied directly to food assistance programs in Hood River, Wasco and Sherman Counties. So far 496,000 pounds have been delivered.

MCCAC, Oregon Food Bank and other community partners are working to develop a long term solution. This community-led process is identifying existing resources, refining the vision and finding an organization to manage a new regional food bank.

Stop by the community farm on a Thursday night from late spring to early fall and you’re sure to find a group of dirty, sweaty volunteers laughing and having fun. In partnership with Grow Portland, an acre of land next to Oregon Food Bank’s NE 33rd Drive location has been transformed into a community farm that’s open to all. The farm brings together new and experienced gardeners. Everyone who takes part can take home a share of the harvest, with the remainder going to Oregon Food Bank.

In its inaugural season that wrapped up in October 2015, the farm produced 5,346 pounds of produce, which included, tomatoes, lettuce, squash and much more. The farm is focused on eliminating economic barriers since anyone can take part and helping people make connections while working together for a common goal.

Health care providers see hundreds of patients every day. Whether an illness or checkup, many of the initial questions are the same including two that specifically ask about food insecurity. More than 270 clinics around Oregon are asking these questions as part of Oregon Food Bank’s Screen and Intervene program. Signs of hunger can be mistaken for other problems, like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and depression. When a provider finds out that a patient may have problems getting enough to eat, they can be connected to food resources and other services.

Over half of the clinics taking part in the program have gone beyond asking questions and providing resource handouts. These clinics are developing deeper interventions which range from tailored one-on-one consultation session and special mobile pantry stops to diabetes support and education to produce distributions at clinics.

On the federal level, years of persistence by the advocacy team paid off. The federal budget for fiscal year 2016 included a $5 million increase for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) storage and distribution funds. Congress also passed legislation that expanded and made permanent the food donation tax deduction. The end of the year tax legislation also included permanent improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, both credits are critical for working families with low incomes. 

Oregon Food Bank worked fast to make every moment of the Oregon Legislature’s short session count. Focusing on the root causes of hunger, volunteers and staff took part in two Legislative Days of Action to discuss the urgent need for affordable housing around the state. As a result, the Legislature further invested in programs proven to assist homeless people into housing.

More than 450 food justice advocates from around the country met in Portland in September for the Closing the Hunger Gap conference. Hosted by Oregon Food Bank, participants spent four days making new connections, sharing ideas and learning new skills to take back to their communities.

Every fall for the last 19 years, Oregon Lawyers Against Hunger have been holding the Lawyers v. Hunger Fund Drive. Since 1997, they’ve raised a total of $2,091,226 or 6.2 million meals.

Oregon Food Bank released the 2015 Hunger Factors Assessment Report in November. Representing 5,845 households across 155 partner agencies, it is one tool that can help identify the economic, social, health and related factors that affect people seeking help from a food pantry.

In December 2015, CEO Susannah Morgan delivered Oregon Food Bank’s inaugural State of Hunger address.  Susannah provided an update as to who is experiencing hunger, as well as steps that are being taken locally to eliminate hunger and its root causes.

Volunteers keep Oregon Food Bank going. In February we launched a Volunteer Advisory Board to increase and improve the volunteer experience. The group represents various volunteer activities at Oregon Food Bank and will help us learn how to best engage volunteers to advance our mission.

June marked the 10th Annual Great Owyhee Ride Against Hunger, a charity cycling event benefiting Oregon Food Bank Southeast Oregon Services. A record 270 riders signed up, raising approximately $7500 for hunger relief in Malheur County.

Oregon Food Bank Tillamook County Services is always looking for ways to improve food access, especially to underserved areas. In June they coordinated with a pantry and nearby church to make supplemental food available to the community during the church’s daily coffee shop hours.

Volunteer support is vital to the success of Oregon Food Bank’s mission.  

Individuals and groups sort and repackage food, lead nutrition and gardening classes, assist with special events and legislative activities, and provide office and professional support.

Last year, volunteers contributed over 180,000 hours of service – the equivalent of 96 full-time positions – with an estimated value of $4 million.

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