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Anti-Hunger Advocates Discuss Policy Solutions with Senator Wyden

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden joined community leaders in Portland to highlight how proven policies like the enhanced Child Tax Credit and investments in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (often referred to as SNAP or “food stamps”) help fight poverty and hunger throughout Oregon and nationwide.

Whether it’s medicine, food, rent. What we’re all seeing is that inflation hits a lot of families.

Senator Ron Wyden

Worsening food insecurity was a theme echoed by Ali Ibrahim, Executive Director of Somali Oregon Service Center, and Alex Van Pelt, Manager of Gladstone School Food Pantry. Both spoke about the challenges they’ve seen in our communities as food and housing prices rise.

“We have a ‘share table’ at one of our elementary schools. It’s a space where kids put extra food they may not want or items they didn’t eat and other kids who need it can take it. The counselor from that school came to me because they are seeing the same kids, day-after-day, go to that ‘share table’ — not for themselves, but to take whatever food they can find home to their families,” Van Pelt shared. “My team is working hard to get resources to these kids and their families. We need Congress to work just as hard and take action now…so our families can keep enough healthy food on their tables.”

Poverty is the single biggest driver of hunger in our communities. When people earn a living wage, have access to affordable housing, healthcare and education — and no longer face the barriers of systemic discrimination — we’re all better equipped to buy healthy and nutritious food. Between regular budget negotiations and major legislation like the Farm Bill, the decisions our legislators make have a direct impact on food insecurity.

“Oregon families deserve to have access to the essential resources we need — not just to survive, but to thrive. And congress must take action,” Ibrahim stated in his powerful testimony. “Now is the time that we have to stand together and support our people, to get the Child Tax Credit and free meals in schools without delay and do what is right for our communities.”

Senator Wyden was clear in sharing his understanding that continued investment and support is needed — at all levels — as our communities work to recover from ongoing pandemic impacts and the rising cost of living. Conversations like these are a reminder that our voices matter in the decision-making process — and that, together, we can make a real difference in the policies and investments our elected officials prioritize.

You can get involved in our shared effort to eliminate hunger and its root causes by staying up-to-date on the latest policy work, legislative initiatives and opportunities for action.

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