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A New Home to End Hunger in the Gorge

It’s hard to keep a secret in the Gorge. We are a tight-knit community — and word tends to spread fast when something exciting is underway. So it was no surprise to see a lot of curiosity when we broke ground in The Dalles late last Spring. But now the wait is over, and after a year of work we’re excited to open the doors to Columbia Gorge Food Bank’s new facilities!

These have been some pretty tough years for just about everyone in our region. Our new building is a promise of something better for our community — a promise that, together, we can end hunger for good. It creates opportunities to improve access to fresh and healthy food for area families, to expand partnerships with area growers and producers, to create the kind of community connections that will help end hunger in our area. And together, we can do it.

Help make Columbia Gorge Food Bank’s new building a new home with your gift today.

RISING AMID CHALLENGE

Thanks to generous support from this incredible community, we’ve come so far in just a few short years! Since our founding in 2015, Columbia Gorge Food Bank (CGFB) operated in a small, leased space that was nowhere near enough to serve the more than 6,000 neighbors we saw each month. From ongoing pandemic impacts, to the rising cost of food and housing, to the loss of federal emergency support that helped so many people bring groceries home to our families, our region continues to face economic pressures that show no sign of letting up in the near future.

ROOTED IN COMMUNITY

The new, permanent home for Columbia Gorge Food Bank offers over five times the space to meet these challenges head on. Architects and engineers designed the facility for collection, storage, and redistribution of abundant, locally grown and harvested crops — ensuring access for our neighbors in the Gorge and 1.5 million Oregonians facing hunger across our region.

We didn’t just stop with increased capacity for food assistance! This is a true Community Food Center that will be home to Windy River Gleaners Food Pantry, The Dalles Community Backpack Program, migrant farmworker food distributions, community gathering space and more. Our fully stocked, on-site learning kitchen will host cooking classes and food workshops. And in the months ahead, we’ll open our spaces for local meetings, organizing efforts, and emergency preparedness trainings.

BUILDING TOWARD THE FUTURE

Hunger impacts everyone in our community in some way — and it will take our collective involvement to realize a future in which everyone has the resources we need to rise and thrive. Columbia Gorge Food Bank’s new home, like our community, belongs to all of us. It creates new opportunities to reimagine our food systems, from field to table, with equity at the core.

New Partnerships: We’ve nearly tripled the number of local pantry partnerships to help eliminate food assistance deserts that too many families have faced in the Gorge. This includes support of efforts to open new pantries in Rufus, Wamic, Maupin — and in the Dufur and Watonka schools. At 46 partners and growing across Hood River, Sherman and Wasco counties, we’re extending robust wrap-around services that center our vibrant Latine, migrant and Native communities along the Columbia River and Northern Warm Springs reservation.

Grower Support: Small agriculture can help build statewide economic strength and help solve hunger. Yet Black, Indigenous, and all People of Color, immigrant, and refugee farmers face barriers to launching farming businesses, compounded by Oregon’s exclusive, racist history of land use laws. We are piloting pre-purchasing contracts with local growers from these constituencies, building on a 2022 program that channeled over $156,000 to producers in our region, including native and tribal fishers.

SNAP Match [Double Up Food Bucks]: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (sometimes called “SNAP” or “food stamps”) provides direct support to families for groceries. SNAP Match [Double Up Food Bucks] increases shoppers’ purchasing power with a dollar-for-dollar match on fresh produce and veggie starts at participating farmers' markets, grocery stores and farm CSAs. In 2023, we estimate Gorge families will net as much as $12,000 in additional fresh fruit and vegetable purchases in our area — offering an important financial boost to local growers along the way.

No one should be hungry, and this is our chance to open a new chapter for communities throughout Hood River, Sherman and Wasco counties. There will be many opportunities in the coming weeks to get involved and make a difference. We hope you’ll join us and help turn our new facility into a true home — a home to end hunger for good in the Gorge and beyond!

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