With food insecurity worsening in COVID-19’s wake, region’s leading anti-hunger organization urges community members to get involved
September is Hunger Action Month, a nationwide effort to mobilize friends and neighbors to volunteer, donate and make their voices heard in the fight to end hunger. In the midst of rising food insecurity and economic uncertainty — and one of the most consequential elections of our time — Oregon Food Bank is asking supporters to pledge to #VoteOutHunger, beginning on National Hunger Action Day (Thursday, September 10).
“This public health and economic crisis serves as a constant reminder that policy decisions matter. Program investments matter. The priorities of our elected leaders matter,” said Susannah Morgan, Oregon Food Bank CEO. “With so many Oregonians facing income loss in COVID’s wake, we know emergency food assistance alone isn’t enough to solve the deep-rooted challenges we face. That’s why we’re calling on supporters to ‘Vote Out Hunger’ this fall and help address the policies and systems that drive hunger.”
Food insecurity has doubled in Oregon since the beginning of the pandemic, as more than 400,000 Oregon workers filed for unemployment. The Census Bureau’s most recent Household Pulse Survey shows 1 in 10 Oregonians report not having enough to eat at some point in the past week — with Asian, Black and Latinx households hit three-to-four times as hard. Across Oregon Food Bank’s network of 1,400+ pantries and meal sites, this impact has played out with a dramatic increase in demand for emergency food assistance. Several agencies now serve as many community members in a single month as they would usually see in a year.
“Hunger’s reach has widened greatly, affecting tens of thousands of families for the first time. But it’s also deepened in communities that have faced disproportionate hunger and poverty for generations,” said Morgan. “Hunger Action Month is a time for each of us to do what we can to meet this crisis head-on — donate, volunteer, make your voice heard at the ballot box.”
Throughout Hunger Action Month and into the fall, Oregon Food Bank will shine a light on the policies and systems that perpetuate hunger. The cross-platform campaign will engage community members in opportunities to affect change on key issues that appear on the fall ballot and beyond — from systemic racism to inequities in healthcare, housing and education.
“We will end hunger when all of us have the resources to meet our essential needs and no longer face the barriers of systemic discrimination,” said Morgan. “There are so many ways to get involved in our drive toward resilient, hunger-free communities, and I hope everyone will take the first step by pledging to ‘Vote Out Hunger’ today.”
Visit oregonfoodbank.org/voteouthunger for more information and ways to get involved on Hunger Action Day and beyond.