PORTLAND, OR — The Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board today approved a $2.9 million investment in emergency food assistance through the Oregon Food Bank Network — a critical allocation at a time when nearly 1 in 5 state residents face hunger. The measure will increase the amount of nutritious food available at Oregon pantries and meal sites over the course of the next three months as the ongoing pandemic continues to impact area communities.
Oregon Food Bank released the following statement from CEO Susannah Morgan regarding today’s legislative action:
“The Emergency Board’s investment comes at a critical time for our communities, as our neighbors experience food insecurity at the highest rate in a century. The pandemic has brought hunger and poverty to the doorsteps of thousands of Oregon families for the first time, and the situation is even worse in communities that have faced disproportionate challenges for generations. Long-standing structural inequities have ensured that the pandemic’s public health and economic impacts fall more heavily on people of color, immigrants and refugees, single parents and caregivers, and our trans and gender non-conforming neighbors — many of whom serve in essential, front-line roles within our healthcare and food systems.
“Throughout the pandemic, our network of 21 regional food banks and 1,400 local partners has moved mountains to ensure that nutritious food is available to everyone who needs it. But the economic fallout of COVID-19 has been compounded by devastating wildfires, and significant support is needed to continue to meet these crises head-on. With today’s action, the Emergency Board has made a significant and critical investment in the food security of millions of Oregonians whose lives have been destabilized in one of the most challenging years in recent memory.
“And yet, we know this much-appreciated state allocation is a stopgap measure. Federal action on COVID relief is desperately needed to shore up safety net programs that provide vital support for struggling families, from Unemployment Insurance to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. And thousands of our neighbors face homelessness at year’s end if the full state legislature does not convene to extend Oregon’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium. Our communities are facing one of the worst public health and economic crises in generations, and we need bold action from elected leaders at all levels to help ensure we all emerge stronger.”