For interviews with local leaders, contact Rachael Van Klompenberg, email@example.com.
New Community Food Center expands food distribution capacity, anti-hunger advocacy as hunger remains at historic highs.
The Dalles, OR — More than a hundred anti-hunger advocates and community leaders gathered at the Port of The Dalles today to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Columbia Gorge Food Bank warehouse and community food center. Located at 3525 Crates Way in The Dalles, the new, permanent home increases Columbia Gorge Food Bank’s food distribution capacity by over five times its previous facilities, opening a new chapter for communities facing hunger throughout Hood River, Sherman and Wasco counties.
“Each and every one of you has supported this effort in some way, whether as a donor, a volunteer, an advocate, a partner in food distribution or a staff member,” said Breen Goodwin, incoming Executive Director of Columbia Gorge Food Bank, in welcoming the crowd. “With a powerful local community and the facilities to match, we can not only make our region’s abundant crops available to people facing hunger across the entire state — we can change the very systems that have excluded so many of us and caused hunger for generations.”
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, Oregon continues to face economic pressures that show no sign of letting up in the near future. Columbia Gorge Food Bank’s new home offers over five times the space to meet these challenges head on — and with 1,000 square feet of refrigerated storage and more than 600 square feet of freezer space, there’s even greater opportunity to partner with local growers and producers to support area families.
“For too many years, Columbia Gorge Food Bank operated in a small, leased space that was nowhere near enough to serve the more than 6,000 neighbors we saw each month,” said Sharon Thornberry, the retiring manager who relaunched the local food bank in 2015. “Hunger impacts everyone in our community in some way, and the building we’re in today allows us to share our local bounty with people and families throughout the Gorge — to reimagine our food system, from field to table.”
As a true Community Food Center, the new facility will also host community-led efforts to reduce food insecurity: the Windy River Gleaners Food Pantry, The Dalles Community Backpack Program, migrant farmworker food distributions, and space for people to come together to cook and learn. And it will serve as a local hub for community organizing and advocacy to address the root causes of hunger — promoting living wage jobs, affordable housing, access to healthcare and childcare, stronger local food systems and more.
“These have been some pretty tough years for just about everyone in our region — and this new building is a promise of something better for our community,” said Susannah Morgan, Oregon Food Bank CEO. “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 end hunger in our area. And together, we can do it.”
ABOUT COLUMBIA GORGE FOOD BANK
A locally-led branch of Oregon Food Bank that is working its way to independence, Columbia Gorge Food Bank partners with more than 45 local community organizations to provide free, nutritious food to over 6,000 neighbors monthly. Our mission is to end hunger and its root causes in Sherman, Wasco and Hood River counties… because no one should be hungry! Learn more about our efforts to build a stronger community food system at ColumbiaGorgeFoodBank.org and @columbiagorgefoodbank on social media.