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Navigating Summer Hunger: Resources for Tillamook County Families

For families facing food insecurity, June marks a time when kids no longer have easy access to breakfast and lunch at school. Many parents and caregivers have to come up with at least ten additional meals per week, per child.

Driven by the ongoing economic fallout of COVID-19, the sunsetting of pandemic safety nets and the rising cost of food and housing, we are in an ongoing hunger crisis. And according to the most recent Feeding America data, rural counties are disproportionately impacted by food insecurity.

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We see these challenges firsthand in Tillamook County. More than one in five people experiencing food insecurity in Tillamook County report being ineligible for federal nutrition assistance like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP benefits). In 2023, food box programs in Tillamook County served over 57,000 people, a 45% increase from those served in 2022. This increase — in addition to a limited job market and a lack of affordable housing in our county — demonstrates just how many of our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet.

For some children, school breakfast or lunch are the only meals they can rely on, with almost 60% of children in Tillamook County eligible for free and reduced-cost school meals up until the 2024 - 2025 school year.

The summer months are shaping up to be a difficult time for so many of us to make ends meet, but there is help available. Find food this summer in Tillamook County:

For those of us who are able, it has never been more important to get involved. If you’re in a position to help, there are concrete ways to help pantries, free food markets and meal sites ramp up local efforts while school is out:

  • For every dollar you donate, Oregon Food Bank provides three meals worth of food — that’s way more than you or I could purchase on our own at a store.

  • Equally important is time — our free food markets, pantries and meal sites run on volunteer power.

  • And for folks wanting to join the movement to end hunger, we welcome you to join our advocacy and organizing efforts!

  • If you or someone you know is planning your senior project at Tillamook High School, consider working to end hunger in our county by visiting OregonFoodFinder.org, and contacting a local food pantry to hear about their volunteer opportunities.

You can donate, sign up to volunteer and take action all at OregonFoodBank.org.

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