Child Hunger Programs

In Oregon, 1 in 5 children (20%) are food insecure – meaning their families cannot always provide sufficient food.

Children experiencing hunger have:

  • less energy
  • more difficulty managing stress
  • issues with concentrating, socializing and self-regulating
  • increased feelings of frustration, anxiety and sadness
  • increased risks of illness and anemia

Combined, these factors contribute to problems at school such as absences, repeating grades, or dropping out.

Oregon Food Bank is committed to addressing childhood hunger. We partner with schools and local non-profit organizations to distribute food to families and children throughout the year, including summer months.

Supporting Children and their Families

Our programs provide food for the entire family. Studies show that when food is only provided to the child, the child shares the food, which decreases the impact.

Parents in food insecure families are likely to skip meals so their children can eat — exacerbating problems such as stress, illness and depression.

In addition to providing food, our programs provide social contact and promote community involvement — critical components in building individual and neighborhood resiliency.

School Pantries

School Pantries provide food assistance to children and families at schools where at least 65% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. The schools serve not only as a food distribution site, but also function as a community hub where families feel welcome and safe.

Because of the resources and staff available within the school setting, School Pantries are able to provide referrals to other helping programs (WIC, SNAP, energy assistance, free lunch) and accommodate the needs of highly diverse populations.

School Pantries are also a learning space for children and families. They act as a site for cooking and gardening classes and they provide meaningful relationship-building opportunities for school staff and parents who participate – leading to more positive educational outcomes for the child.

Oregon Food Bank’s School Pantry program started as a pilot program in 2011 in partnership with 6 schools in the Multnomah County SUN Schools Program. It has since grown to include 34 schools in Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Tillamook, Malheur and Wasco counties.

School Free Food Market

This program distributes fresh fruits and vegetables and pantry staples — free of charge — once a month at local schools. It provides opportunities for participants to volunteer within a school setting, connect with other participants and link with other community resources to help stretch food dollars.

Summer Free Food Markets

Distributions operate in conjunction with the Summer Feeding Service Program, offering free fruits and vegetables and pantry staples to families that bring their children to eat lunch.


This program provides an assortment of grocery staples to Head Start families in Central and South Tillamook County through distributions twice per month.