by Susannah Morgan, CEO
At Oregon Food Bank, June has long marked a time when we share our deep concerns about summer hunger — for kids who no longer have easy access to breakfast and lunch at school.
In an ordinary summer, many families have to come up with at least 10 additional meals per week, per child — a gap that our Network ramps up to fill when school is out.
But this is no ordinary summer, as we all know. Right now, 1 in 5 Oregonians are out of work. Thousands more parents are struggling to put food on the table in the wake of COVID-19. And millions of community members continue to take to the streets to demand justice and liberation.
This moment speaks to both aspects of our mission at Oregon Food Bank: our work to feed people today; and our long-term efforts to end the root causes of hunger.
Right now, our 1,400 partner agencies and countless community allies are moving mountains to ensure nutritious food reaches families throughout the region.
- The Summer Food Service Program is available in hundreds of communities throughout Oregon — offering free meals and snacks to all kids and teens. Find local sites at summerfoodoregon.org.
- If your kids are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, Pandemic EBT offers extra grocery money for your family while school is closed — and additional SNAP benefits were just extended into the summer. Details and online applications are at needfood.oregon.gov.
- Many Farmers’ Markets will double the value of SNAP dollars to connect families to more fresh produce and protein. Participating markets can be found at at doubleuporegon.org.
- As always, our Network of food assistance sites are open throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington — offering fresh produce and pantry staples to all who need it. Find pantries and delivery options near you on our FoodFinder app.
And right now, the legislature is in special session to tackle a host of challenges related to systemic racism — structural challenges that we know drive hunger and poverty in our communities.
So whether you live in the city, the suburbs or in our rural communities, know that food is available for you and your family this summer.
And if you believe in our mission to end hunger and its root causes, I hope you’ll contact your legislators today. Our elected leaders need to hear our support for the reforms and accountability measures that will help put a stop to the systemic drivers of hunger and poverty.
Thank you for all you do to help our communities #EmergeStronger together.