The Pandemic has Tested Our Vision of
FROM OUR CEO
Wow, have we been tested this year. And WOW!
have we risen to that challenge.
A year ago, hunger in Oregon and SW Washington
was decreasing. And now – due to the ongoing
pandemic and recent wildfires, associated
economic disruption and insufficient public safety
nets – hunger is at its highest level
in almost a century.
I’ll say that again: we are currently experiencing
rates of hunger that equal those of the Great
Depression in the 1930s.
Throughout the Oregon Food Bank Network, we’ve witnessed rising need in the wake of the COVID-19
pandemic’s economic impact. Before the pandemic, approximately 860,000 community members
relied on the OFB Network for food assistance in a year. Oregon State University estimates that the total
number of Oregonians experiencing – or are likely to soon experience – food insecurity has doubled. This
means as many as 1 in 4 Oregonians or an additional 540,000-800,000 of our neighbors are turning to
local food pantries, many for the first time.
COVID-19 Puts Systemic Inequities on Full Display
“The pandemic has shown us all how closely our health and well-being is tied to one another. Yet the
disproportionate impact of COVID-19 among Black, Indigenous and other people of color cannot be
denied. Even before the pandemic, food insecurity among Black and Indigenous households was more
than double the rate of white households in Oregon. Latinx families were three times as likely to face
hunger than other families.
Emerging Stronger Together
When any member of our community is at risk, we’re all at risk – our health and well-being is tied to each
and every one of our friends, colleagues and neighbors.
Our network of 21 regional food banks and over 1,400 hunger relief programs is working together
across Oregon and Southwest Washington to meet the evolving needs of our communities. This
regional service delivery model brings together network partners to collaborate around community
engagement, to share resources, and to advocate for a food system that effectively and equitably meets
the needs of our neighborhoods.
Building A Movement
At its core, a movement is made of people who are connected by a common commitment to create
better communities – including addressing issues that divide us. Earlier this year, we facilitated
conversations while volunteers repacked food for distribution by discussing food insecurity, the root
causes of hunger – including racism, xenophobia, transphobia and more – and what we can do to
end hunger. We hosted online community conversations to foster dialogue that can lead to community
change. “This was the first time we’ve ever had a community conversation about racial equity and it
felt good,” said one participant in a multiracial virtual town hall in La Grande. At another event with
Multnomah County Commissioners, we discussed challenges and solutions from the perspective of
communities of color.
Connecting CommunityHow You Can Get Involved
Our vision for resilient communities that never know hunger is only possible through the strength of our
community partnerships. Join us in the fight to end hunger for good!