OFB: Oregon Continues To Struggle With Food Insecurity
As the state works to come out of the pandemic, the number of Oregonians considered “food insecure” is rising. In 2019, roughly 860,000 people requested food assistance; that number ballooned to 1.7 million in the first year of COVID-19. Oregon Food Bank Executive Director Susannah Morgan says the number of requests dropped to 1.2-million in 2021, thanks to pandemic-related programs.
“But this year it’s been rising again and I think we’ll end the year at something like 1.5 million people asking for food assistance. So we are much worse off, in terms of hunger, than we were before the pandemic.”
September is Hunger Action Month, and Morgan says you won’t solve the issue of hunger with food.
“When people go to a food assistance site asking for food, we can provide them with groceries - and we do - and that will help for days or a week. But it doesn’t solve the underlying reasons why someone needed food assistance in the first place: their income was too low, their housing costs were too high, they didn’t have access to affordable medication."
Morgan added it’s a good time to consider how the November election could impact food insecurity, which is why they will have “Hunger on the Ballot” as their theme in 2022. She noted they are trying to show the link between the need today and the solutions hidden under the surface.
If you or someone you know needs food assistance, dial 2-1-1 or visit OregonFoodFinder.org.
If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org