In the midst of supply chain disruptions, industry outbreaks and natural disasters, the Oregon Food Bank Network has continued to connect hard-hit communities with food and other critical resources. Over the past year, we distributed more than 50 million meals worth of food throughout the region — with an emphasis on fresh produce, dairy, protein and other pantry staples.
Our network of 21 regional food banks has been able to meet these layered crises head-on through the incredible generosity of our grassroots supporters — many of whom contribute monthly toward our shared effort to increase food security, now and into the future. Here are few examples of the work underway thanks to this outpouring of community support:
'Doubling Up’ on Fresh, Culturally-Relevant Food
Through the expansion of Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) and the distribution of Grocery Gift Cards, we place hundreds of thousands of dollars directly into the hands of food insecure families. These initiatives improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables for Oregonians participating in SNAP food assistance programs — and help to ensure families have access to food that is in keeping with their cultures and traditions. Our expansion efforts are also designed to support regional economies through investments in rural retailers serving known food deserts, locations that offer culturally-specific foods and stores owned by and/or serving communities of color.
Local Food for Local Families
As food systems throughout the region continue to struggle, we’ve directed all possible food purchase dollars to local farmers, producers and manufacturers. Governor Kate Brown, legislative leaders and the Office of Emergency Management have all been amazing partners in shepherding state and federal COVID relief funds to ensure nutritious food reaches hard-hit communities.
Over the past 18 months, these efforts have invested millions of dollars in staple foods that are grown, raised and made in the Pacific Northwest.
Connecting Communities to Surplus Food
Our Fresh Alliance program pairs food assistance sites with grocery stores in their communities to ensure perishable items and other short-dated products reach families quickly.
We’ve also shifted the way we manage smaller donations, re-routing tens of thousands of meals worth of food from consumer food drives to food assistance sites in their neighborhoods. This includes new partnerships with several retailers that get ready-to-eat meals and into the hands of local residents on a daily basis.
To ensure people facing hunger know where to find vital resources, we’ve launched a new, mobile-friendly FoodFinder app that makes it easier than ever to find food assistance in the community.
FoodFinder allows for quick searches by zip code, location hours and accessibility, type of food needed and more. And the app is fully transcreated in 14 languages that are commonly spoken across the Pacific Northwest — offering thousands of community members access to information in their language of choice for the first time.
None of this would have been possible without strong government and food industry partnerships, fueled by the incredible generosity of the Oregon Food Bank community. Your ongoing support has kept essential resources and critical information flowing to communities throughout the region. You’ve been with us every step of the way, and we can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done — and will do — to ensure we can all emerge stronger!