Added unemployed seek emergency food
A survey of food box recipients in the Portland metro area finds that unemployment has forced more people to seek emergency food while more families fall into poverty.
But thanks to broad community support, the Oregon Food Bank and its network distributed record amounts of nutritious food as an offset to the bad economic times.
The Oregon Food Bank Network conducts the Hunger Factors Survey every other year to better understand the causes and conditions of people receiving emergency food.
“The 2010 hunger survey underscores that hunger is an income issue,” says Rachel Bristol, the chief executive officer of the Oregon Food Bank. “With so many impacted, we are heartened by the caring response of the food industry, community volunteers and financial supporters who have allowed OFB to more than double the volume of food it distributed in just three years.
Expansion of the Food Stamp Program, health coverage for children in Oregon and USDA commodities kept hunger at bay for roughly 900,000 people throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington last fiscal year.
Distribution of emergency food is still rising – but at a slower pace, the food bank network also reported.
“Although we’re not out of the woods yet, it appears that the double-digit increases in emergency-food distribution via the Oregon Food Bank Network is beginning to level,” Bristol says.
During 2009-10, the Oregon Food Bank Network distributed 72 million pounds of food to people in need throughout Oregon and Clark County, Wash.
The survey reports come on the heels of the 2009 U.S. Census Bureau poverty report, which reports that the ranks of the working-age poor climbed to the highest level since the 1960s, leaving one in seven Americans in poverty.
“We need the public will to end hunger by ensuring all residents have access to good nutrition, so our kids can learn in school and workers can give 100 percent on the job. We need to re-establish our middle-class by creating jobs that allow families to thrive and contribute to their communities, rather than struggling day-to-day just to survive,” Bristol says. “We urge Congress to begin this year by passing a strong Child Nutrition Act.”