The best solutions to hunger and poverty come from people who have lived it.
It’s a fact that guides everything we do at Oregon Food Bank — one that I’ve shared in many, many interviews and meetings over the years. I say it so often not just because it’s true, but because it’s an important reminder for people who make decisions about the policies and investments that have a huge impact in our daily lives. If we’re going to end hunger, people and communities that are most impacted must be in the lead.
That’s why it was so wonderful to join a group of amazing community leaders recently at a congressional roundtable on hunger, health and well-being in our region. At the table were allies from Adelante Mujeres, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Oregon Farmers Market Association, Community Action Program of East Central Oregon (CAPECO), Portland Public Schools, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and Portland State University’s Basic Needs Hub — all invited by one of Oregon’s longtime leaders, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, in the lead-up to the White House Conference on Hunger this fall.
Each of us shared our perspectives as organizational leaders, of course. But to me, the most important solutions were those that were identified and led by our communities. People came to the conversation with concrete, achievable ideas to help address food insecurity, improve food access to healthy, culturally-appropriate food, and increase overall affordability. And with guidance from Oregon Food Bank’s Policy Leadership Council and Community Ambassadors — leaders who have experienced and are working to end hunger every day — I presented a number of solutions that can help address food insecurity today and tackle hunger’s root causes. Among them are removing roadblocks to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), making the Child Tax Credit permanent and enacting Healthy School Meals for All.
This was an important and powerful conversation, led by diverse voices who know what it takes to address these issues. You can check out the recording below. And if you’re interested in digging in further, full details on the solutions I shared are linked here.
So many decisions that directly impact our mission to eliminate hunger and its root causes are made during state and federal legislative sessions — and here in Oregon and Washington, our communities often have a direct say at the ballot box as well. If you haven't yet pledged to make hunger a top priority in the 2022 elections, I hope you’ll join me and get involved in the weeks and months to come!
Thanks for all you do,
Oregon Food Bank CEO
If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, visit our FoodFinder app to find local pantries, free food markets and meal sites near you.