As I write this letter, my heart is hopeful. I have
been a food banker for 22 years, and throughout
this time the rates of hunger have risen and
steadied and risen again — always trending toward
more and more hunger. But this year, for the first
time in my career, hunger in Oregon is decreasing.
Let’s celebrate! We are winning!
My heart is also determined. Even as I rejoice, I
remember that nearly 13% of our neighbors in
Oregon and Clark County, Washington still worry
about feeding themselves and their families — and
that the rate of hunger is still higher than it was
before the Great Recession. Our lead on hunger is
small and fragile.
My heart is also proud of the work the Oregon Food
Bank Network has accomplished in partnership with
donors like you.
Our biggest year yet
Together, we distributed 74 million pounds of food to 260,000 individuals accessing services each month and increased the amount of fresh produce we move by 84% compared to just five years ago. Here’s some additional highlights we are proud to share with you.
“I came here the first time, to the food bank, in
2001,” says Flor. “I remember because that’s
when my husband had the car accident and, at
that time, he was the only person that worked.”
Flor recalls she was pregnant and caring for a
toddler at the time of the accident, and that’s
when a neighbor suggested visiting the food
bank. “That helped us a lot because that way
we could use our money to go to the doctor.”
Free Food Markets
offer a hand up
What’s in a name? Quite a lot, as we discovered
this year with the launch of our new Free Food
Markets, which consolidated several existing
community food programs under this new moniker.
Our goal with Free Food Markets is to ensure
that people have equitable access to the type
of food assistance they need, when and where
they need it — knitting together food distribution
with opportunities for social inclusion and
community building.care sites in Oregon have implemented screening procedures for food insecurity.
Coming together in
Even if you’re the one stuck doing the dishes
afterward, there is a deeply rooted comfort
that comes with the daily ritual of gathering,
preparing and consuming food. Since 1999,
Oregon Food Bank has partnered with the
national anti-hunger organization Share Our
Strength and numerous community partners
to implement hands-on cooking and nutrition
education courses for more than 9,500 people
using the Cooking Matters® curriculum.
Sustained growth of the program over the years
means we’re now teaching Cooking Matters in
62% of the communities served by Oregon Food
Bank and the Oregon Food Bank Network.
Because I know what it's like
A monthly sustaining donor since 2002, Norma
Silliman volunteered with us for the first time
this past spring. “I knew that Oregon Food Bank
did a lot, but it wasn’t until I was there that I
realized how much!” She was impressed with the
cooking, gardening and nutrition classes, as well
as the diverse support from individuals, farmers
and the food industry.
In her work as a registered nurse, Norma trains
care givers and home health aides for people who
are elderly or disabled. “Being a nurse I see the
long term effects of poverty and I understand
why good nutrition is so important.”
make a big difference
Corporate volunteer groups gave more than
30,000 hours of their time to help repack
food or work in our gardens this past year, and
we couldn’t be more grateful. Many of these
important partners also support us by hosting food
and fund drives or workplace giving programs.