The Oregon Food Bank in Ontario, celebrating Hunger Action Month through September, is seeking donations to help feed those struggling with food insecurity in Malheur County.
Food insecurity means a person doesn’t have regular access to healthy food in their home. According to Lindsay Grosvenor, strategic partnership program manager for the Ontario Food Bank, roughly 12% of the county’s population is food insecure, the highest rate in the state. Oregon’s rate is 9.8%.
Grosvenor said Hunger Action Month is intended to mobilize people locally to address food insecurity. She said the focus in Oregon is advancing “food justice.”
“Food justice,” according to Vicky Shwoeffermann, associate director of policy and strategic partnerships for the Oregon Food Bank, goes beyond just “putting food on the table today” but is about “making sure that food available, affordable and sustainable for everyone every day.”
“Food justice is the belief that food is a human right,” she said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey, Malheur County has the highest poverty rate in Oregon, with an estimated 19% of the local population with incomes below the poverty line, compared to 12% statewide.
Grosvenor said the end of the extended Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits during the pandemic that ended in March prompted a boost in people seeking Food Bank services.
She said in Malheur County, the food bank is seeking donations.
While many want to donate food – and the donations are welcome – financial donations go further because of the buying power of the Ontario Food Bank. She said people can donate by calling Oregon Food Bank in Ontario at (541) 889-9206 or sending a check to 773 S. Oregon St., Ontario 97914.
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