By C. Nathan Harris, Director of Development
More than 860,000 people rely on the Oregon Food Bank Network each year — and food assistance needs rise each day with the widening reach of COVID-19. With schools closed and local businesses shuttered, we expect tens-of-thousands of additional families will turn to their local food pantries, many for the first time.
Barriers to paid sick leave, affordable healthcare and childcare options are just a few of the systemic inequities exposed by this pandemic. Friends and neighbors who already faced significant economic challenges now increasingly bear the brunt of this crisis.
Yet, I am filled with hope. I see people uniting around shared values of community, generosity, and human dignity. Throughout our region, as we look to one another for support, we are building collective power that’s capable of ending hunger for good.
Earlier this week, NIKE, Inc. President & CEO John Donahoe and his wife, Eileen Donahoe, pledged $1,000,000 to Oregon Food Bank. With their gift to Oregon Food Bank, John and Eileen are helping support our communities. And beyond that, they hope to inspire others to collectively match their giving through Oregon Food Bank’s #EmergeStronger Community Challenge.
“We are longtime supporters of programs that address hunger in our community. And we saw a need in our new home state, especially among families with children facing food insecurity while schools are closed,” said John and Eileen Donahoe. “Oregon Food Bank is helping people across the state who have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and its extensive impact. We’re proud to support their efforts and hope others join us to help those in our communities who need the most help.”
Our #EmergeStronger Challenge aims to raise another $1,000,000 to supercharge Oregon Food Bank’s capacity in response to COVID-19. This challenge will provide resources for our Network’s efforts to ensure that we not only survive this pandemic, but that — on the other side — everyone in our community has access to food, healthcare, housing and economic security. To end hunger for good.
I am thrilled that the Goodman Family and the Downtown Development Group have already come forward with a $100,000 leadership gift to #EmergeStronger. Portland General Electric and the PGE Foundation have also committed $200,000 to help us meet this challenge. They hope you will join them alongside John and Eileen.
We can get through this pandemic by caring for our communities. Together — with support from our neighbors, community leaders, businesses and other partners — we will #EmergeStronger.